March 7, 2014
Boston – Senator Richard Ross (R-Wrentham) voted today to pass a $13 billion, five year capital plan to fund improvements to the Commonwealth’s transportation system. The legislation passed unanimously in the Senate. A conference committee will now be appointed to resolve differences between the bills that were passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives.
The legislation provides $8 million to the Town of Wrentham to fund roadway and sidewalk reconstruction on Taunton Street, as well as the construction of ramps at the interchange of Routes 1A and 495. The Town of Norfolk also was awarded $500,000 to study the replacement of the Main Street Bridge and the Lawrence Street Bridge. Senator Ross was pleased to see the Senate adopt his amendment providing the Town of North Attleboro with $3.2 million for roadway improvements on Kelley Boulevard.
“Cities and towns across the Commonwealth have struggled to meet the needs of their transportation infrastructure, and essential services such as road repairs have suffered,” said Senator Ross. “This funding is crucial for Wrentham, Norfolk and North Attleboro to perform necessary improvements to the roadways in their communities.”
Senator Ross offered several additional amendments to provide funding for transportation projects in other towns in his district. He was disappointed to see these amendments rejected by the Senate.
The bill establishes a special commission to study the Commonwealth’s metropolitan planning organizations (MPO) and evaluate the current practices and processes used to select local transportation projects. Each MPO prioritizes and selects what transportation projects within its region will receive federal funding each year. The Senate adopted an amendment, filed by Senator Ross, requiring the commission to evaluate the potential for restructuring MPO regions.
The Senate also adopted several amendments, filed by Senator Ross, to increase transparency within the Department of Transportation. Pursuant to his amendments, all reports submitted by the Department related to the Complete Streets Program, South Coast Rail community mitigation projects, and projects included in the Department’s 5 year capital investment plan must be made available online to the public.
Additionally, the legislation also includes $1.5 billion in spending over the next 5 years for the Chapter 90 program to fund local projects such as rebuilding and repairing roads and bridges. It also requires municipalities to be notified of their appropriation before March 1st of each year, in order to plan for local budgets.
Please contact the office of Senator Ross with any questions or concerns at (617) 722-1555 or Richard.Ross@masenate.gov.