Senator Michael O. Moore (D-Millbury) announced that the Senate passed a compromise bill on April 15 authorizing $12.7 billion in capital spending to fund improvements to the Commonwealth’s transportation system. Senator Moore is a member of the Joint Committee on Transportation and the Joint Committee on Bonding, Capital Expenditures and State Assets.
The bill includes a one-year $300 million authorization for local road repairs in Fiscal Year 2015.
“Transportation is vital to the stability and well-being of the Commonwealth,” Senator Moore said. “This bill gives our cities and towns the ability to undertake critical improvements and repairs to local bridges and roads. It is also a jobs bill. As it will not only create jobs by spurring new construction projects, but will further entice businesses to come to Massachusetts because of a modern, safe and reliable transportation infrastructure.”
Some important aspects of the bill include $2 million for the Town of Upton, along with the towns of Grafton, Hopedale and Milford, for railroad crossings.
To address the issue of fare evasion at the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), the bill raises fines to $100 for a first offense, $200 for a second offense and $600 for a third or subsequent offense.
The bill also supports the Complete Streets Program by authorizing $50 million in spending and creates a grant program to provide funding to municipalities that promote all modes of transportation, including walking, cycling, public transportation, automobiles and freight.
The bill includes $325 million for improvements to South Station and designates South Station as the Governor Michael S. Dukakis Transportation Center at South Station.
The compromised transportation capital plan also includes:
· $1.9 billion for interstate/non-interstate federal highway, which is approximately 80 percent federally reimbursable;
· $125 million for the Department of Conservation and Recreation for repairs, improvements, construction of parkways and related equipment;
· $24 million for the mobility assistance program and regional intercity bus and intermodal services;
· $80 million for the statewide rail access program;
· $63 million for Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) modernization;
· $175 million for Springfield-Worcester-Boston-Cape Cod and Pittsfield-NYC rail projects; and,
· $146.5 million for information technology at the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.
The bill will now go to the governor for his consideration.