BOSTON – The House and Senate have finalized a Chapter 90 bond bill that will provide Reading with $605,006 in road and bridge funding for Fiscal Year 2022.
In addition to authorizing $200 million in state spending on the Chapter 90 program, the bond bill also provides for a total of $150 million in funding increases for six transit-related municipal grant programs. The final bill – which combines elements of two earlier versions of the bond bill previously approved by the House and Senate – was enacted unanimously in both branches on July 15, with the support of House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading), State Representative Richard Haggerty (D-Woburn), and Senator Jason Lewis (D-Winchester).
Established by the Legislature in 1973, the Chapter 90 program is 100 percent reimbursable and allocates funding to cities and towns on an annual basis using a distribution formula that takes into consideration a community’s population, employment, and total road miles. Municipalities can use the funding for a wide range of capital improvement projects such as road resurfacing and related work, including sidewalks, traffic control measures, and roadside drainage.
“This new round of local aid will provide Reading with the critical resources it needs to repave local roadways, make our streets safer, and upgrade infrastructure,” said Representative Haggerty. “This bill also includes new, creative grants to help communities better connect residents with mass transit and address local congestion hot spots.”
In addition to the Chapter 90 bond authorization, the House and Senate have allocated another $25 million apiece to six state grant programs that were initially funded in a comprehensive transportation bond bill signed into law on January 15. These grant programs offer funding assistance for:
- the municipal small bridge program, which helps communities fund construction, repairs and improvements for non-federally aided bridges;
- addressing local bottlenecks that negatively impact traffic flow;
- implementing transit-supportive infrastructure, including dedicated bus lanes and signal prioritization;
- prioritizing and enhancing mass transit by bus;
- increasing access to mass transit and commuter rail stations; and
- assisting municipalities and regional transit authorities with the purchase of electric vehicles and charging stations.
The final bond bill also retains language previously inserted by the House stipulating that funds received through the Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund may “be used for maintenance or pay-go funded building of transportation infrastructure, including roads.”
The bond bill is now on Governor Charlie Baker’s desk. He has until July 25 to review and sign it.