Baker sees “unique opportunity” in infrastructure aid

Boston Statehouse

BOSTON (SHNS) – Massachusetts is gearing up to receive billions of dollars in new federal infrastructure funding under the $1 trillion package that federal government leaders agreed to on Friday, and Gov. Charlie Baker believes the resources constitute a “unique opportunity.”

“I’m very glad that it passed and and I think it presents a unique opportunity for us and for other states if we’re strategic and smart about it,” Baker said. Calling the bill “something really important for the country and for the Commonwealth,” Baker noted that some of the federal funds require state matching funds and predicted Massachusetts would also be ready to compete for other newly available federal resources. “Massachusetts has a long history of being very smart about how we go about accessing and ensuring that we get get quote-unquote our fair share of federal resources, and this creates a tremendous opportunity for us to do that across a wide variety of critically needed infrastructure investments, literally, that will benefit one end of the Commonwealth to the other,” said Baker.

Neither Baker nor House Speaker Ronald Mariano commented too extensively when asked about Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley’s decision to vote against the infrastructure bill. “People make decisions based on what they think is in the best interests of their district,” Baker said.

Explaining her vote, Pressley said she had been pressing to ensure that any vote on a “roads and bridges infrastructure bill must happen in tandem with a vote on the Build Back Better Act that invests in our care economy, housing, paid leave, combating climate change, and more.” “We had an agreement that these two bills would move together — not that we would vote for the narrow roads and bridges infrastructure bill in exchange for vague assurances and a potential vote on the Build Back Better Act if certain conditions are met,” Pressley wrote in an email Monday afternoon. “Unfortunately, that agreement was not honored.” 

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