This alert this afternoon from the Massachusetts Municipal Association, as the Governor releases only half the monies the legislature has designated for road repairs this year to cities and towns –
May 31, 2013
GOVERNOR RELEASES $150 MILLION FOR CHAPTER 90, WITHHOLDING HALF OF THE PROGRAM FROM CITIES AND TOWNS
GOVERNOR OFFERS NO COMMITMENT OR FIRM PLAN TO RELEASE ALL $300 MILLION AFTER THE TRANSPORTATION FINANCE BILL REACHES HIS DESK
Earlier today, the Patrick Administration issued updated Chapter 90 notices to cities and towns, stating that once the Legislature passes the “terms bill” the Administration will release only $150 million in funding for local roads in fiscal 2014, in spite of the fact that the Governor signed the Legislature’s $300 million Chapter 90 bond bill one week ago. Remarkably, the Administration is reducing the Chapter 90 authorization by $50 million, even though the Legislature voted unanimously to increase the program by $100 million.
In making the announcement, the Administration stated that the release of the $150 million will become official after the “terms bill” is passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor. The House and Senate are finalizing the details of a major tax hike to fund Chapter 90 and an expansion of the state’s transportation funding plans, but the Administration is making no commitment to release the full $300 million after the tax package becomes law. Instead, MassDOT Secretary Davey stated that “Depending on the final disposition of the transportation finance plan, it may be possible to release additional Chapter 90 funding later in fiscal year 2014 for either the fall or early spring construction seasons.”
The MMA has issued a strong statement calling on the Governor to pledge to release the full $300 million authorization, saying that “[t]he bottom line is clear: cities and towns disagree with the Administration’s decision to cut back on Chapter 90 funding instead of committing now to the full $300 million that the Legislature and local officials know is necessary. We ask the Governor to release all of the Chapter 90 funds because the program is a necessary, affordable and money-saving way to improve the quality and safety of our roads, build our economy, create jobs, protect local taxpayers, ensure equity across the state, and return new tax dollars to every single community.”
PLEASE CONTACT THE GOVERNOR’S OFFICE (617-725-4000) AND YOUR REPRESENTATIVES AND SENATORS AS SOON AS POSSIBLE AND ASK THE GOVERNOR TO COMMIT TO RELEASE THE FULL $300 MILLION AUTHORIZATION. SHORTCHANGING CHAPTER 90 WILL DELAY IMPORTANT LOCAL PROJECTS, SHORTEN THE CONSTRUCTION SEASON, AND INCREASE COSTS FOR CITIES AND TOWNS.
WHEN YOU SPEAK WITH THE GOVERNOR’S OFFICE AND YOUR LEGISLATORS, PLEASE MAKE THE FOLLOWING POINTS:
• Cities and towns are responsible for maintaining, repairing and rebuilding nearly 90 percent of the roadways in Massachusetts – adequate funding for Chapter 90 is necessary to ensure that these local transportation needs are met.
• Cities and towns use their Chapter 90 funds to provide safe roads that are essential for economic growth, commerce and everyday living – unfortunately, the Administration’s announcement would actually reduce Chapter 90 distributions by $50 million below the current level, a 25 percent cut, instead of funding the $100 million increase that the Legislature and local officials know is necessary.
• Chapter 90 improves the quality and safety of our roads – full funding is needed to bring local roads up to a state of good repair, the standard for ensuring well-maintained roads in good condition.
• Chapter 90 sends new tax dollars back home where they belong – citizens and businesses will be paying higher taxes to fund transportation improvements, and Chapter 90 is the one program that will provide taxpayers in every single community with a share of their investment.
• Chapter 90 is affordable – the Legislature is on the verge of enacting a comprehensive transportation revenue package, there is enough revenue in the House and Senate transportation finance bills, and it is the Legislature’s clear intent is to use the new revenue to fund Chapter 90 at $300 million.
• Chapter 90 ensures regional equity – the Chapter 90 program is the most effective and efficient way to ensure regional equity and access to increased transportation tax revenues because cities and towns receive their funds through a tried-and-true formula that shares revenues in a fair way in every corner of the Commonwealth.
• Chapter 90 protects communities and local taxpayers –under Proposition 2½, cities and towns can’t increase local funding to repair roads unless they cut other important services such as public safety and local schools, or pass a tax override, which increases local reliance on the already overburdened property tax.
• Chapter 90 strengthens the Massachusetts economy – all experts and stakeholders agree that investing in transportation is essential for our state’s economic growth and competitiveness, and Chapter 90 builds economic progress in every community, which is good for every resident, taxpayer, and business owner in the state.
• Chapter 90 creates construction jobs now – cities and towns face such a backlog of need that every new dollar for Chapter 90 will immediately result in visible and necessary repair projects on local roads all across Massachusetts, creating high-quality construction jobs for the middle class.
• Chapter 90 saves taxpayers money – investing more in Chapter 90 funding to improve the quality of local roads will actually save taxpayers millions of dollars a year because, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, once a local road is in a state of good repair, every dollar invested for maintenance will save 6 to 10 dollars in avoided repair costs that become necessary to rebuild the road when it fails due to a lack of maintenance.
• PLEASE ASK THE GOVERNOR to commit to releasing all $300 million for Chapter 90 as soon as the tax package reaches his desk. Chapter 90 is a necessary, affordable and money-saving program to improve the quality and safety of our roads, build our economy, create jobs, protect local taxpayers, ensure equity across the state, and return new tax dollars to every single community.
PLEASE CONTACT GOV. PATRICK’S OFFICE TODAY AND ASK HIM TO COMMIT TO ALL $300 MILLION FOR CHAPTER 90
PLEASE ASK YOUR LEGISLATORS TO CONTACT THE GOVERNOR AND CALL FOR THE RELEASE OF $300 MILLION FOR CHAPTER 90
Thank You Very Much.