BOSTON (SHNS) – Reducing carbon emissions, electric vehicle charging stations and bridge maintenance will feature as focus points in a forthcoming transportation bond bill Gov. Charlie Baker plans to file, a Department of Transportation official said Wednesday.
Details about the legislation remain scarce more than two weeks after Baker used his annual State of the Commonwealth address to plug his plans to file the bill, but MassDOT Director of Capital Planning Michelle Ho offered a glimpse at some of its topics. The bill will ensure state-level matching commitments are in place to make the most out of federal dollars available under a new infrastructure law, and Ho highlighted several programs in that bipartisan package, including a climate resiliency program known as Promoting Resilient Operations for Transformative, Efficient, and Cost-saving Transportation, or PROTECT.
Transportation emissions represent a major source of air pollution that policymakers need to address to meet legal carbon reduction requirements, and the collapse of a multi-state compact to cut vehicle emissions has heightened the need for other approaches.
“We will include in that bond bill request all the new federal formula programs that were authorized: the carbon reduction, the PROTECT, the electric vehicle charging infrastructure, and the new bridge funding,” Ho told MassDOT’s Board, adding that the bill would account for new federal aid in the December 2020 Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriation Act, or CRRSA.
Baker in January 2021 signed into law a $16.5 billion transportation bond bill. Ho said Wednesday that the administration originally expected the borrowing authorized in that law would run until spring 2024, but that officials now believe it will only last through the end of 2023.