Closely aligned with Governor Patrick’s priorities and initiatives, the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) was enacted to preserve and create jobs and promote economic recovery; to assist those most impacted by the recession; to provide investments needed to increase economic efficiency by spurring technological advances in science and health; to invest in transportation, environmental protection and other infrastructure that will provide long-term benefits; and to stabilize state and local government budgets.
While most of the ARRA funds have been critical in supporting state and local operating budgets, preserving healthcare, education and other vital safety net services, the Commonwealth has received targeted ARRA funds for infrastructure investments which have supplemented the Commonwealth’s capital budget. Committed ARRA capital program funds for the Commonwealth include:
Housing-related ARRA funds to clean up properties in troubled neighborhoods, help create new affordable housing, make our homes more energy-efficient, and support community development projects. Massachusetts has received commitments for over $291 million in housing and community development ARRA funding.
Transportation-related federal stimulus funds for "shovel-ready" state-wide road and bridge projects across the Commonwealth. Massachusetts received authority under ARRA to commit $437.9 million over four years on road and bridge projects, except for $59.6 million of this amount which will be applied to transit-related projects.
Energy-related ARRA funds to increase energy efficiency to reduce energy costs and consumption and to reduce reliance on imported energy. Massachusetts is managing $55 million of ARRA funds under the State Energy Program. Projects to receive funding include energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, such as solar and wind projects located at state office buildings and higher education facilities.
Massachusetts received $177.8 million under the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). By distributing the funds to cities and towns as low-interest loans with nine percent principle forgiveness, Massachusetts has been able to leverage its State Revolving Fund allocation to finance $770 million worth of construction in the Commonwealth – more waterworks construction than any other state in the nation.
The Commonwealth has been awarded $45.4 million in federal stimulus funding to expand broadband access in Western and North-Central Massachusetts. The Patrick-Murray Administration worked closely with federal and state elected leaders to help secure this significant federal award, which will support long term economic growth, improve health care and education and strengthen public safety throughout the region. The state capital bond cap funds will be providing $26.2 million in matching funds, bringing the total investment in the project to $71.6 million.
It should be noted that the ARRA funding amounts reflected in this plan are only the amounts that have been awarded to the Commonwealth for capital investments to date. The Commonwealth may receive additional ARRA funding for infrastructure investments pursuant to competitive grant programs to be awarded at future dates. In addition, ARRA funding for infrastructure investments included in this report are only amounts that are awarded directly to the Commonwealth and do not include amounts awarded directly to the municipalities, independent authorities or other entities in Massachusetts.
In addition to funds that can be applied directly to capital projects, ARRA also provides for the use of new or expanded tax credit bonds as alternative means of financing projects that are typically financed with traditional tax-exempt bonds issued by state and local governments. The Commonwealth has created robust programs under the Recovery Zone Bonds, Clean Renewable Energy Bonds, Qualified School Construction Bonds, and Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds programs and selectively uses such programs when they provide a clear economic advantage over traditional tax-exempt bond financings.