Gov. Charlie Baker of Massachusetts recently joined state transportation leaders to testify before the state's Joint Committee on Transportation to support the administration's proposed transportation legislation.
The governor was joined by the state's Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack and Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) General Manager Steve Poftak to discuss the legislation, dubbed An Act Authorizing and Accelerating Transportation Investment, which seeks $18 billion in additional capital authorization to invest in the state's transportation system.
“The $18 billion transportation plan we filed will continue the evolution our transportation system is currently undergoing," Gov. Baker said in his testimony. The governor went on to explain that some of the objectives of the bill include accelerating the initiatives already underway to modernize the state's transportation system; investing half a billion dollars in municipal partners to develop the transportation systems necessary to meet public needs; and reducing the greenhouse gas impact and improving the resiliency of the state's transportation networks.
The governor's proposal includes a series of initiatives from the administration to combat congestion on the Commonwealth’s roadways including establishing a tax credit to encourage telecommuting and remote working, expanding the use of designated bus lanes and transit signal priority, as well as creating a program designed to reduce bottlenecks on local roadways.
It includes nearly $5.7 billion to continue modernizing the MBTA, $150 million to improve the pavement condition on state roads, $20 million to ensure municipalities have resources needed to continue efforts to build ‘Complete Streets’ infrastructure to encourage the public to travel more on foot and by bicycle, and $70 million for the Municipal Small Bridge Program.
The governor is also proposing a Next Generation Bridge Financing Program, which will support $1.25 billion in new bridge construction and enable new procurement techniques to bundle a number of smaller bridge projects together. The governor says if the program receives support, the percentage of bridge decks in poor condition in Massachusetts would drop significantly by 2026.
SOURCE: Commonwealth of Massachusetts