Markey and Schmid join Legislature in Passing Transportation Bond Bill
Legislation Will Bond for Southcoast Rail and Other Important Local Projects
(BOSTON) – State Representatives Christopher M. Markey (D- Dartmouth) and Paul Schmid (D- Westport) joined their colleagues in the House of Representatives and legislators from the State Senate in passing a bill authorizing $13 billion in capital spending over the next five years to fund improvements to the Commonwealth’s transportation system.
Schmid, who represents Westport and portions of New Bedford, Freetown and Fall River, applauded the passage of the bill. "The Transportation Bond Bill is a well thought out piece of legislation that addresses many issues facing the South Coast. Most importantly, bringing our transportation infrastructure in to the 21st century, including funding for South Coast Rail will have a huge impact on the economic development of the South Coast, especially communities like Westport,” he said. The bill dedicates $2.3 billion for South Coast rail improvements and creates a $100 million South Coast rail mitigation program to assist communities impacted by the South Coast rail project and, according to Representative Schmid, “helps us become better connected to Boston, the economic hub of the Commonwealth."
Representative Markey was grateful for the work of House Transportation Committee Chairman William Straus (D- Mattapoisett) and the combined efforts of the local delegation in bringing the South Coast rail that much closer to fruition. “We’ve never been this close before, and it’s a matter of pride to me that we all accomplished this working together to convince our colleagues across the State that this is of critical importance to our region,” he said. “I look at the progress we’ve made since I was elected in 2010, and it’s incredible. I’m looking forward to continuing that push,” Markey added.
The bill also includes $300 million in Chapter 90 funding for FY 2015 for the rebuilding and repairing of roads and bridges. The bill also includes a requirement for municipalities to be notified of their Chapter 90 appropriation before March 1st of each year, allowing for cities and towns to better plan their own budgets. “This notification seems elementary, and it really is critical for towns to have that ability to plan effectively,” said Markey. Additionally, the capital plan includes important local projects such as $400,000 for the removal of debris from the old Hix Bridge in Westport, $500,000 for Padanaram bridge repair and reconstruction in Dartmouth, and important statewide infrastructure issues that affect the region, such as $1.9 billion for interstate/non-interstate federal highways, 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, and $63 million for a critical Registry of Motor Vehicles modernization. “Our local infrastructure will be well-served by this bond bill, and generations of South Coast residents will reap the benefits for years.”
The bill goes to Governor Deval Patrick for approval.