This alert this morning from the Massachusetts Municipal Association –
July 31, 2013
GOVERNOR RELEASES $50 MILLION MORE FOR CHAPTER 90, WITHHOLDING $100 MILLION FROM CITIES AND TOWNS
GOVERNOR OFFERS NO COMMITMENT OR FIRM PLAN TO RELEASE ALL $300 MILLION EVEN THOUGH THE STATE HAS NEW TAXES IN PLACE TO FUND THE PROGRAM
Yesterday evening, the Patrick Administration announced via Twitter that it would be releasing an additional $50 million in Chapter 90 funding for local roads in fiscal 2014, bringing the total released so far to $200 million, in spite of the fact that the Legislature has enacted a new transportation finance law that will raise more than enough funds to provide the full $300 million for Chapter 90 that is due to cities and towns. The Administration is now level-funding the Chapter 90 authorization at $200 million, even though the Legislature voted unanimously to increase the program to $300 million, and has enacted a transportation finance law that provides the funding to support the full authorization.
The MMA has called on the Governor to release the full $300 million authorization, saying that “The Massachusetts Municipal Association respectfully and urgently requests that you direct your Administration to release the entire $300 million in local Chapter 90 funds due to cities and towns… To put it plainly, we strongly disagree with the decision to level-fund Chapter 90 distributions at $200 million, as this would unfairly deny cities and towns access to the new tax revenues that will be available for transportation maintenance and improvements. Communities need a true partnership with the state that shares tax dollars with local residents to support local road and infrastructure projects. Simply put, withholding Chapter 90 funds from municipalities will shortchange cities and towns, stall important local road maintenance and repair initiatives, and undermine the local-state partnership that is necessary to move the Commonwealth forward.”
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 level fund Chapter 90 at $200 million 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 has enacted a comprehensive transportation revenue package that clearly provides enough new tax revenue to support $300 million for Chapter 90, and it is the Legislature’s clear intent for this to happen.
• 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 now. 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, NOT JUST THE $200 MILLION HE HAS RELEASED SO FAR
PLEASE ASK YOUR LEGISLATORS TO CONTACT THE GOVERNOR AND CALL FOR THE RELEASE OF $300 MILLION FOR CHAPTER 90
Thank You Very Much.