Daily News

Governor Outlines Plans for Federal Infrastructure Funding, Backs East-West Rail

LOWELL — At a press conference at UMass Lowell yesterday, Gov. Charlie Baker outlined initial plans to invest in roads, bridges, public transportation, and environmental infrastructure projects across the Commonwealth with $9.5 billion in funding from the recently passed federal $1.2 trillion infrastructure law.

“The bipartisan infrastructure law will deliver billions in funding to the Commonwealth, helping to build on the investments our administration has made over the past seven years to improve our roads and bridges and make our public transportation system more reliable and resilient,” Baker said. “We are grateful for the efforts of the congressional delegation to secure this funding for Massachusetts and look forward to working with them and our local partners to deliver critical projects across the Commonwealth.”

Distributed over five years, the $9.5 billion in total funding to the Commonwealth includes $5.4 billion in highway funds, $2.2 billion in MBTA funds, $591 million in Regional Transit Authority funds, and $1.4 billion for environmental work.

The federal law also includes $66 billion to address the Amtrak maintenance backlog, modernize the Northeast Corridor, expand intercity rail service, and make improvements to the nation’s freight rail system. Massachusetts intends to work with Amtrak to compete for funds to invest in service improvements between Springfield and Worcester as an initial step to expand service between Boston and Albany, Baker said, noting that his administration plans to advance a transportation bond bill in the coming weeks that will include matching funds for the new federal infrastructure money.

“We are going to figure out some way to take our … state capital dollars and some of the [federal COVID-19 relief] money that’s been appropriated by the Legislature to compound some of the opportunities that are associated with a lot of these resources,” Baker said, according to the Boston Globe. “There’s going to be a lot of money going to work for the people in Massachusetts.”

Massachusetts Transportation Secretary and CEO Jamey Tesler added that “significant investments are going to be made in transportation infrastructure thanks to both reauthorized and increased federal funding within the federal bipartisan infrastructure law, and these investments will be transformational. I want to thank members of the congressional delegation for delivering this new funding and express appreciation to state legislators, municipal leaders, planning organizations, and stakeholders who will partner with us to advance the Baker-Polito administration’s FY 2023 budget, advance the transportation bond bill to be filed soon, and support MassDOT as we identify and scope projects which can be accelerated.”