Special to the Journal
On March 5 House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo and Rep. RoseLee Vincent along with their colleagues in the House of Representatives passed a $18.28 billion transportation bond bill dedicated to maintaining and improving the Commonwealth’s roads, bridges, and public transportation systems.
For Winthrop and Revere, the bill appropriates:
• Funding designated for the design and construction of a commuter rail station at Wonderland;
• Funding designated for signal improvements along the Blue Line between Bowdoin and Wonderland stations;
• $10 million for transportation improvements in Winthrop;
• $15 million for improvements to Ocean Avenue from Revere Street to Shirley Avenue;
• $ 5 million for the reconstruction and widening of the Railroad Avenue Bridge at Route 16 East and Route 1A South; and
• $ 5 million for a sound barrier along state highway Route 1, northbound and southbound, from Copeland Circle to Route 16 in the city of Revere.
The legislation, An Act authorizing and accelerating transportation investment, ensures that Massachusetts invests in large-scale transportation capital and improvement projects, municipal road and bridge projects, commuter rail parking facilities, regional transportation authorities, as well as programs aimed at reducing congestion and improving air quality.
“These investments strengthen Massachusetts transportation systems across the Commonwealth that are in urgent need of resources,” said Speaker DeLeo (D-Winthrop). “I am grateful to my colleagues in the House for their work to invest in the future of Massachusetts’ transportation system. I am proud of the work Chairs Michlewitz and Chair Straus did to assemble this package of funding.”
Winthrop Town Manager Austin Faison said, “We’re excited to realize any and all funding for the restoration of the infrastructure of the town. We thank Speaker DeLeo for his guidance on the matter.”
“Investing in the transportation infrastructure of our communities is important, and as the Vice-Chair of the House Bonding Committee, I am proud to have supported this bill which provides authorizations for many projects that will benefit the people of Revere,” said Rep. Vincent (D-Revere). “I thank Speaker DeLeo for his leadership in bringing this Transportation Bond Bill before the House, and I hope that the Baker administration will include some of these local priorities in their Capital Investment Plans for years to come.”
Powers has focused a lot of his efforts on the potential construction of a commuter rail station at Wonderland. Late last year, Powers attended a transportation subcommittee meeting on the transportation bond bill. Powers said at that meeting Gov. Charlie Baker voiced his support of the bill, agreeing with the councillor that a commuter rail station will reduce vehicular traffic coming in to the city on Route 1A (North Shore Road) and Route 107 (Lynn Marsh Road). Powers contends that a lot of the motorists are heading to Logan Airport on those roadways.
“I’m pleased to see the commuter rail station project was included in the transportation bond bill,” said Powers. “This project has been a top priority of mine for several years.”
Among other spending, the bill appropriates:
• $2.6 billion dedicated to sustainable transit system modernization investments and rail improvements
• $300 million in Chapter 90 funding for municipal road and bridge projects.
• Funding authorizations for major infrastructure improvements including
• $175 million for rail projects including Springfield to Worcester service, Boston to Cape Cod service, and Pittsfield to New York City service;
o $825 million for South Coast Rail improvements;
o $695 million for Green Line extension improvements;
o $400 million for improvements at South Station;
o $250 million for the Allston Multimodal Project to serve rail, bus, and automobile transportation and feature bicycle and pedestrian accessibility; and
o $350 million for infrastructure improvements to the Bourne and Sagamore Bridges.
• $330 million dedicated to the improvement of regional transit networks
• A new MassDOT grant program to fund “first mile, last mile” projects.
• $25 million in assistance for transportation management associations
• $50 million each respectively for the MBTA and municipalities for mass transit and commuter rail parking, including accommodations for mobility devices and expedited pickup and drop-off zones.
• $50 million in municipal grants for rapid transit bus lanes and bus shelters.
• $30 million for water transportation grant programs.
“The investments we are making today will help us build a stronger, more resilient transportation system,” said Representative Aaron Michlewitz, Co-Chair of the Joint Committee on Ways & Means (D-Boston). “By passing this bond authorization, we are ensuring that every corner of the Commonwealth receives much needed additional transportation resources.”
“Funding authorization provided by the House in this bond bill will help to address the critical infrastructure needs of our roads, bridges and mass transit system throughout Massachusetts,” said Rep. William Straus (D-Mattapoisett), Co-Chair of the Joint Committee on Transportation. “These investments are built on a foundation of enhanced revenue support, which the House also approved as a part of this year’s transportation package for the state.”
“As we all know, there are significant transportation investment needs throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,” said Rep. Antonio F.D. Cabral (D-New Bedford), Chairman of the House Committee on Bonding, Capital Expenditures and State Assets. “I thank Speaker DeLeo for prioritizing this important bill, which invests a great deal in our state’s roads, bridges, transit and commuter rail systems, and pedestrian and cyclist infrastructure.”
The bill will now go to the Senate.
House passes legislation to invest up to $600 million statewide in the Massachusetts Transportation System
Last week, House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo and Rep. RoseLee Vincent along with their colleagues in the House of Representatives passed legislation to invest up to $600 million annually in an immediate and critical infusion of transportation funding.
The House plan provides much-needed revenue that will begin to address the ongoing needs of the statewide Massachusetts transportation system. The system faces increased congestion, ongoing unreliability and safety concerns while cities and towns across the state report increased transportation infrastructure needs.
“We know there is a significant need for transportation revenue, and this package delivers it,” said Speaker DeLeo (D – Winthrop). “Thank you to Chairs Michlewitz, Straus and Cusack and to Leader Mariano for their diligence and focused attention to this critical issue.”
“I was proud to support this legislation because I believe the benefits of increased funding for our roadways, bridges and public transit system is extremely necessary,” said Representative Vincent (D-Revere). “The positive, tangible investments that we will see as a result of this legislation for years to come will help to bring our transportation infrastructure up to twenty-first century standards. I thank Speaker DeLeo, Chairman Michlewitz, Chairman Cusack and Chairman Straus for their collaboration in coming up with a consensus bill that takes a good approach and strikes a balance among all sides of the transportation revenue debate.”