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Baker-Polito Administration Outlines Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Funding Plans for Massachusetts

LOWELL — The Baker-Polito Administration recently outlined initial plans to make significant and additional investments into roads, bridges, public transportation, and environmental infrastructure projects across the Commonwealth with funding from the recently passed federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL).

Governor Charlie Baker, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, Transportation Secretary and CEO of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) Jamey Tesler, and Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides made the announcement near the Rourke Bridge in Lowell, which the administration committed to advancing and funding the replacement of with the additional resources made available within the BIL. With an anticipated cost of approximately $170 million, the Rourke Bridge will be funded as part of an anticipated $3-billion bridge program to be implemented over the next five years using a combination of BIL funding and the Commonwealth’s Next Generation Bridge Program. As part of the announcement, the administration released a list of 146 bridge projects, representing 181 individual structures, to be funded as part of that program.

“Significant investments are going to be made in transportation infrastructure thanks to both reauthorized and increased federal funding within the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and these investments will be transformational,” Tesler said. “I want to thank members of the Congressional delegation for delivering this new funding and express appreciation to state legislators, municipal leaders, planning organizations, and stakeholders who will partner with us to advance the Baker-Polito Administration’s FY 2023 budget, advance the Transportation Bond Bill to be filed soon, and support MassDOT as we identify and scope projects which can be accelerated.”

Over five years, the BIL will deliver approximately $9.5 billion in total funding to the Commonwealth including $5.4 billion in highway formula funds, $2.2 billion in MBTA formula funds, and $591 million in Regional Transit Authority (RTA) formula funds, as well as $1.4 billion in both formula and discretionary funds for environmental work.

Roads and Bridges
MassDOT expects to receive about $5.4 billion in total highway formula funds from the BIL, of which approximately $3.5 billion is the reauthorization of already existing formula programs and $1.8 billion is increased formula funding. Of the $1.8 billion increase, approximately $449 million is an increase in funding for existing programs, and $1.4 billion is for new formula programs.

This $449-million increase in reauthorized formula funding will support the continued advancement and implementation of more than 375 highway projects in the State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) over the next five years, which includes over $1 billion in Fiscal Year 2022 investments to advance 71 highway projects, including:

  • the extension of the Ashuwillticook Trail in Adams and North Adams
  • the reconstruction of East Street (Route 9) in Pittsfield
  • the rehabilitation of Route 5 in Holyoke and West Springfield
  • the installation of protective screening on the Route 2 Bridge in Erving and Gill
  • the reconstruction of Route 20 in Charlton and Oxford
  • the reconstruction of the I-90/I-495 Interchange in Hopkinton and Westborough
  • the replacement of the Basiliere Bridge in Haverhill
  • the construction of the Lawrence Manchester Rail Trail in Lawrence
  • the relocation of Route79/Davol Street in Fall River
  • the replacement of the I-95 Bridge in New Bedford
  • the reconstruction of Rutherford Avenue in Boston
  • the reconstruction of Broadway (Route 107) in Chelsea
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In addition to these projects, MassDOT will work over the coming months with regional partners to develop a prioritized list of roadway, bicycle, and pedestrian, and safety projects to be supported with this funding.

The $1.4 billion in funding for new formula programs includes:

  • $1.125 billion for a new bridge formula program
  • $106.5 million for a resiliency program
  • $93.7 million for a carbon reduction program
  • $63.5 million for electric vehicle infrastructure
  • $9.1 million for ferry boats and terminals

This $1.1 billion in new formula bridge funding, coupled with the state’s $1.25-billion Next Generation Bridge program and other funding from the BIL, will allow MassDOT to invest over $3 billion in repairing the Commonwealth’s bridges, addressing more than one-third of the structurally deficient bridge backlog. MassDOT has already begun this process by initiating over 146 bridge repair or replacement projects on 181 bridge structures across the Commonwealth. In addition, the new bridge formula program, as well as some of the new discretionary programs, will provide support for major projects across the Commonwealth like the Rourke Bridge.

Regional Transit Authorities
The RTAs are expected to receive $591 million over the next five years in formula funding. The estimated formula federal aid will be used to fund operating and capital needs for the RTAs. The most recent capital planning scenarios include the following capital investments funded by federal formula funds in the 2022-2027 period:
  • $41.7 million for facility and system modernization
  • $80.9 million for facility and vehicle maintenance
  • $50.5 million for fleet upgrades
  • $10.4 million for replacement facilities
  • $96.3 million for vehicle replacement
The MBTA expects to receive $2.2 billion over the next five years that will fund $1.6 billion in spending already programmed and $580 million for new projects. As programmed in the current STIP, the MBTA plans to invest $2 billion, including state and MBTA matching funds, over the next five years in a variety of projects including vehicles, signal upgrades, and station and facility improvements. These projects include:
  • $852 million for vehicles
  • $412 million for stations and facilities
  • $295 million for bridges and tunnels
  • $428 million for signal and system upgrades
The BIL includes $66 billion to address the Amtrak maintenance backlog, modernize the Northeast Corridor, expand intercity rail service, and make improvements to the nation’s freight rail system. This funding will be allocated as follows: $22 billion directly to Amtrak and through multiple competitive grant programs; $24 billion as federal-state partnership grants for Northeast Corridor modernization; $12 billion for partnership grants for intercity rail service; $5 billion for the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) Program; and $3 billion for a new Railroad Crossing Elimination Program.
Energy and Environmental Affairs
The BIL will provide approximately $1.4 billion in formula and discretionary funds to improve environmental infrastructure in Massachusetts. The formula funding for energy and environmental projects includes:
  • Water and Sewer Infrastructure Funding: $1.01 billion over five years
  • Energy Programs: $11 million for grid reliability, security, and future planning studies and $2.5 million for energy efficiency conservation block grants
  • Environmental remediation: $367.6 million

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