On Friday, April 18, Governor Patrick signed the Transportation Bond Bill (H.4046) into law, which provides for $12.7 billion in financing for transportation improvements across Massachusetts.
MassBike is very pleased with the outcome: $377,255,000 for the design, construction and repair of, or improvements to, pedestrian, bicycle and multi-use pathways; $50,000,000 for a Complete Streets certification and grant program to incentivize communities to create roads that are safe and convenient for everyone; and at least $230,796,100 in authorizations for specific path, roadway, and bridge projects across the Commonwealth that include significant bicycle or pedestrian infrastructure components. Overall, this represents a major increase in statewide funding for projects that will encourage and facilitate active transportation.
Throughout the process, MassBike and partner advocacy organizations worked hard to ensure the inclusion of these authorizations in the final bill. Regular updates on the status of the bill were provided here in our blog (here, here, and here). We thank Joint Transportation Committee co-chairs Senator Thomas McGee (D-Lynn) and Representative William Straus (D-Mattapoisett), Senate Bonding Committee chairman Senator Brian Joyce (D-Milton), House Bonding Committee chairman Representative Antonio Cabral (D-New Bedford), and conference committee members Reps. Straus, Stephen Kulik (D-Worthington) and Peter Durant (R-Spencer) and Sens. McGee, Stephen Brewer (D-Barre) and Robert Hedlund (R-Weymouth) for their leadership. We also thank all of our members, supporters, and partners who helped us make the case to their legislators when it counted most.
We combed through the list of authorizations to identify all projects that clearly have a specific benefit for biking and walking and compiled them into a PDF (click here to view). These projects represent everything from roadway and streetscape projects that include Complete Streets design elements to shared-use trail projects to bike/pedestrian bridges. The status of these projects ranges from the early planning stages right up to shovel-ready. Some highlights include $1.3 million for the Watertown Greenway, $1.7 million for the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail, $3 million for the Grand Junction Rail Trail, and $56 million for various Complete Streets projects across Massachusetts.
With financing now authorized, the work for advocates shifts to ensuring that as much of this funding as possible is actually allocated and that these much-needed bicycle and pedestrian projects are constructed.