Despite the overwhelming need for capital investments and the limited resources available to fund them, the Patrick-Murray Administration has made great progress in improving the Commonwealth’s capital investment program since taking office three and a half years ago. The following highlights summarize some of the Administration’s accomplishments in the areas of capital investments and capital finance generally.
Unprecedented Commitment to Capital Investments – From fiscal year 2008 through fiscal year 2011, the Patrick-Murray Administration will have made over $10 billion in capital investments into the Massachusetts economy.
Fiscal year 2011 capital spending will be over $3.4 billion – twice the amount of state capital investments in fiscal year 2007, when the Administration took office.
$2.4 billion or 69% of the total fiscal year 2011 capital budget will fund infrastructure construction costs. The balance will fund studies and designs for new construction projects, personnel needed to carry out the capital programs, IT project costs, equipment and land purchases, and other costs.
First-Ever Debt Affordability Policy - The Patrick-Murray Administration developed and published the first-ever debt affordability policy, which has been positively reviewed by credit rating agencies. This analysis has been updated annually and the current analysis is presented in Appendix A.
First-Ever Five-Year Capital Investment Plan - The Administration published the first-ever comprehensive and transparent five-year capital investment plan based on the new debt affordability policy. This report represents the Administration’s fourth annual five-year capital investment plan and has been developed within the parameters set forth in the debt affordability policies.
Bond Bills - After publication of its first five-year capital investment plan in the summer of 2007, the Governor filed a series of multi-year bond bills authorizing over $16 billion in capital investments that, together with the $1.8 billion Immediate Needs Bond Bill passed earlier in 2007, reflected the capital investment priorities for the Commonwealth included in the five-year plan. The legislature overwhelmingly approved each of the bond bills. In August 2010, the Governor signed into law an economic development bill that included new bond authorization for certain economic development programs. All of the bond bills are described in more detail in Appendix B.
Initiation of Key Projects - A number of important new capital projects and programs have been initiated by the Administration, including: the accelerated bridge program, the South Coast Rail project, the new Worcester State Psychiatric Hospital project, the Emerging Technologies and Innovation Center at the Lowell campus of the University of Massachusetts, new courthouse projects in Taunton, Salem and Fall River, the correctional facilities master plan, the transit projects legally-required as mitigation for the Central Artery project and many more. These and many other capital investment project highlights are described later in this report in the respective investment category sections.
Accelerated Bridge Program - The Administration, working with the legislature and the Treasurer, developed a $3 billion accelerated bridge program which will repair hundreds of structurally-deficient bridges, create new construction jobs, build conditions for long-term economic growth, and save the Commonwealth hundreds of millions of dollars in avoided construction cost inflation and deferred maintenance costs. This program is underway and is discussed in more detail in the Transportation section of this report.
Transportation Reform - On June 26, 2009, the Governor signed legislation to reform the Commonwealth’s transportation system. The legislation, which took effect November 1, 2009, consolidated various transportation agencies into a new authority called the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT). The consolidation and the reforms in the legislation have already resulted in significant savings and increased capacity for investments in transportation infrastructure improvements.
State Facility Maintenance - The Administration has taken steps to improve maintenance of state facilities. Funding in the capital budget is dedicated for small capital maintenance and repair projects. By dedicating more funding to these types of projects, the state will defer less of its capital investment needs and avoid larger, more expensive capital project needs in the future. The funding for these projects is allocated based on a new, need-based evaluation process through the Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance. The Administration is committed to building on its efforts to improve the maintenance of state facilities.
Energy Efficiency Requirements for State Building Projects - Governor Patrick issued Executive Order 484 which, among other things, established the Governor’s “Leading By Example Program” requiring that all state agencies reduce their environmental impact by promoting energy conservation and clean energy practices. In January 2010, the Governor created the Clean Energy Investment Program as a means to affordably finance energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements to state facilities – such investments being crucial to achieving the goals of Executive Order 484. The Administration has also set high minimum “green building” standards for all new state building projects and is striving to go above and beyond such standards wherever possible, including plans for certain buildings to be “energy neutral”.
Financing Initiatives – In addition to the Clean Energy Investment Program mentioned above, the Administration has pursued various other financing initiatives to more effectively leverage state resources to fund more capital project needs. These initiatives include: increased allocation of private activity bond volume cap to multi-family affordable housing projects to leverage related federal tax credits to fund millions of dollars of affordable housing projects, including improvements to our public housing supply; “I-Cubed” legislation to finance infrastructure improvements needed to support new private development with the new state tax revenues generated from the development; and the financing of the East-West Parkway project at the former South Weymouth Naval Air Base from new state tax revenues to be generated from private development at the base.
Oversight and More Transparency through Finance Advisory Board - Through new gubernatorial appointments, staff support provided by the Executive Office for Administration and Finance, and greater oversight responsibilities included in recent legislation, the Administration has strengthened the role of the Finance Advisory Board in ensuring transparency, accountability and best practices among state entities that borrow, invest and manage public funds. For the first time in the Board’s history, the Board, with Administration assistance, complied with its statutory obligation to gather information about and to report on outstanding debt of the Commonwealth and other debt-issuing state entities. In furtherance of promoting transparency, accountability and best practices, the Board has adopted regulations with respect to debt issuance and derivative transactions. In the context of the turmoil in the financial markets over the last two years, this oversight is critical to ensure public confidence in the sound management of public funds.
Creation of MassWorks Infrastructure Program – The Administration created the MassWorks Infrastructure Program to consolidate state infrastructure grant programs that support economic development and to provide one-stop shopping for municipalities seeking to participate in these programs. This program will coordinate state review of applications and decision-making.