More than $150 million in “shovel-ready” projects to move forward this spring through federal recovery funding
BOSTON – Friday, March 6, 2009 – Governor Patrick today announced the federal government has given Massachusetts the authority to spend $437.9 million on transportation projects through federal highway funds under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Of that funding, approximately $153.2 million will be committed to “shovel-ready” projects advertised for bid within the next 120 days.
Federal officials have also announced an additional $319 million in recovery funds will go toward Regional Transit Authorities and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. In addition to the total transportation funding, Massachusetts is in line to receive anywhere between $6-$9 billion over two years for education, health care, public safety, housing and other critical programs.
“Funds from the President’s recovery bill come to us at a critical moment, and we are well prepared to put these funds to work,” said Governor Patrick. “Thanks to a careful review process, we will soon have shovels in the ground on necessary road and bridge projects throughout the Commonwealth and start to put people back to work."
This first allotment of highway funds will be used for projects across all regions of the Commonwealth. Both highway and transit projects will be selected from the State Transportation Improvement Plan, which is comprised of projects submitted by the state’s 13 Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPO). Projects on each of the MPO’s lists are already qualified to receive federal funding. The State Transportation Improvement Plan is created through a collaborative public review process including the public and dozens of state, regional, and local officials.
This first phase of highway projects will cover all regions of the Commonwealth. Both highway and transit projects will be selected from the regional Metropolitan Planning Organization’s (MPO) list – a list of projects that are already qualified to receive federal funding (see highway and transit lists attached). The MPO list is approved by 13 regional planning organizations through a collaborative public review process including dozens of state, regional, and local officials.
“Along with our partners on the federal and local levels, we are ready to move on projects that will create jobs in all regions of the Commonwealth,” said Lieutenant Governor Timothy P. Murray. “The authorization of significant funding for transportation projects is a great first step.”
The State Transportation Improvement Plan includes dozens of projects that could receive federal recovery funding. Federal guidelines require MPO approval for projects to be eligible for stimulus funds. Additional projects will go through the MPO approval process and be added to the list of eligible projects over the coming months.
“By working with our Mayors and Selectmen along with federal, state, and regional partners in identifying projects, I am confident the infrastructure projects receiving these initial federal stimulus funds will address among the most critical needs in our road and bridge system,” said Transportation Secretary James Aloisi, Jr.
Road and bridge projects funded by federal recovery money will be selected from a list of eligible projects in all regions and move forward to bid based upon readiness and the Administration’s priorities, in order to meet the 120-day “use-it-or-lose-it” federal deadline. Additional projects will be funded by the remaining transportation federal stimulus funds, which must be used for projects advertised for bid by March 2010.
Massachusetts is prepared to proceed with the $153 million of eligible transportation projects because Governor Patrick began to mobilize in December for federal economic stimulus funding. The Governor established 10 task forces, chaired by the Lieutenant Governor and members of his cabinet, to begin the work of mobilizing the Commonwealth for the potential receipt of hundreds of millions of dollars from the federal government for "shovel-ready" infrastructure projects.
"It's clear to people across Massachusetts that our roads and bridges are in great need of repair,” said Director of Infrastructure Investment Jeffrey Simon. “Together with the capital investment plans the Administration has already begun, these additional recovery funds will allow us to make long-delayed improvements in our communities and quickly create the jobs that the men and women of the Commonwealth need."
Governor Patrick appointed Simon to lead the Administration's economic recovery infrastructure program in February in order to maximize the Commonwealth's ability to create new jobs and lay a foundation for long-term economic growth.
The Patrick-Murray Administration has created an open, transparent process across transportation, economic development, and environmental agencies. The full list of projects eligible to be included in the first phase of federal transportation recovery funding will be posted on Governor Patrick’s Massachusetts Recovery and Reinvestment Plan website. To learn more, go to: www.mass.gov/recovery.
Federal recovery will enhance capitol efforts already underway to address a legacy of neglect inherited from previous Administrations. In the last two years, the Patrick-Murray Administration, working with the Legislature, has approved more than $9 billion for road, bridge and transit projects through Transportation Bond bills and an historic eight-year Accelerated Bridge Repair Program to cut by more than 250 the number of structurally-deficient bridges.