For Immediate Release - March 14, 2007

PATRICK-MURRAY ADMINISTRATION FILES IMMEDIATE NEEDS BOND BILL

House Speaker and Senate President join Governor to unveil $1.47 billion bond authorization

BOSTON- Wednesday, March 14, 2007 - Governor Deval Patrick and Lt. Governor Timothy Murray today filed a $1.47 billion bond bill to address the Commonwealth's immediate capital infrastructure needs. The requested capital borrowing authorization is limited in scope to permit the Patrick-Murray Administration to proceed with previously planned projects that need to begin in the next few months or that have already been started.

"This bond authorization will allow us to address the state's most pressing and immediate capital needs," said Governor Patrick. "Maintaining and developing our capital infrastructure is critical for our quality of life, our economic vitality and the proper functioning of our government. Although this immediate needs bond bill is a necessary short-term step, we are also focused on developing a far more ambitious capital program that will provide a five-year blueprint for effectively and responsibly addressing the state's long-term infrastructure investment requirements."

The immediate capital needs bond bill will authorize planned projects that address critical repair needs, secure significant federal grant money, satisfy legal requirements and improve government accountability and efficiency. By authorizing planned projects to proceed now, the bill will also allow the state to avoid significant cost increases that would result from further delay and to avoid significant disruptions to standard capital programs.

"This legislation demonstrates our on-going commitment to the cities and towns of the Commonwealth," said Senate President Robert E. Travaglini (D-East Boston). "Among other things, it provides a quick infusion of investments to help communities maintain roads and keep their repair projects on track."

"This bond bill prioritizes critical transportation, public safety, environmental and technology projects across the Commonwealth," said Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi (D-Boston). "It is incumbent upon us to move quickly in order to keep these projects in the pipeline and take advantage of federal funding."

Some of the projects that will be addressed by the spending plan include:

  • Construction of a new bridge to alleviate traffic in downtown Quincy as well as provide an additional access ramp to Route 3. By investing in this project, the Commonwealth will facilitate the retention of 2,000 jobs and create up to 4,000 more, with private investment to the area estimated at $55 million.
  • A $250 million state-of-the-art psychiatric hospital and replace two antiquated facilities inadequate for the Department of Mental Health's needs. The project will significantly improve the provision of mental health services to our neediest citizens and will result in significant operational efficiencies and savings. This project was developed by a special commission established by the legislature that included DCAM, DMH, legislators and mental health advocates. Further delay of this project will cost approximately $1 million per month in cost inflation.
  • Additional Chapter 90 funding for grants to cities and towns for local road maintenance and repair projects. This authorization will bring fiscal year 2008 spending to $150 million, the highest bond-funded level for this grant program since 1999.

The bond bill also authorizes certain financing proposals that will result in significant savings to the Commonwealth and benefits to taxpayers. These proposals include extending the maximum term of bonds from 20 years to 30 years to more closely align the term of financing to the expected useful life of certain projects; refinancing certain state contract assistance and capital lease payment obligations; and issuing low interest cost bonds to pay for projects currently planned to be funded from cash and using the cash instead to pay off high interest cost bonds.

"By working with the State Treasurer to implement these financing proposals, we expect to generate millions of dollars of savings, annual operating budget relief and a fairer allocation of costs between current and future taxpayers," said Leslie Kirwan, Secretary of Administration and Finance. "These are fiscally responsible proposals that will result in real financial benefits for the state and its taxpayers."


Specific Projects Include:

Transportation

  • Funding will become available for construction of a new bridge to alleviate traffic in downtown Quincy as well as provide an additional access ramp to Route 3. By investing in this project, the Commonwealth will facilitate the retention of 2,000 jobs and create up to 4,000 more, with private investment to the area estimated at $55 million.
  • Reconstruction can start on Route 9 in Shrewsbury. This project will upgrade traffic signals, water drainage and sewage systems, sidewalk access, as well as provide road resurfacing.
  • Access to Taunton's business district will expand through road-widening, excavation, and wheelchair access along the area sidewalks. This project will make dramatic improvements and safety upgrades for the primary access road on Route 138.

Chapter 90 - Local Aid

  • This bill includes authorization for additional Chapter 90 funding for grants to cities and towns for local road maintenance and repair projects. This authorization will bring fiscal year 2008 spending to $150 million, the highest bond-funded level for this grant program since 1999.

Performance Management Technology Program

  • Funding will be available for a statewide performance management system. This system will provide a transparent, easily accessible source for reporting and assessing operational performance, raise program effectiveness, reduce costs, identify risks, and ensure accountability in the provision of state services and in the use of state resources.

State Psychiatric Hospital

  • A $250 Million authorization will create a state-of-the-art psychiatric hospital and replace two antiquated facilities inadequate for the Department of Mental Health's needs. The project will significantly improve the provision of mental health services to our citizens most in need of those services and will result in significant operational efficiencies and savings. This project was developed by a special commission established by the legislature that included DCAM, DMH, legislators and mental health advocates. Further delay of this project will cost approximately $1 million per month in cost inflation.

Mass Transit Projects

  • The design phase for four mass-transit projects can begin under a new authorization to carry out commitments made in connection with the Central Artery project. These projects will reduce future pollution by enhancing our mass transportation infrastructure.

Water Pollution Abatement Trust

  • The two line items for the Massachusetts Water Pollution Abatement Trust program that total $9.7 million in authorization will secure over $91 million in federal grants. This amount will be leveraged to result in $329 million of local sewer and drinking water projects.

State Buildings

This bill includes authorization to address critical repair needs at our state office buildings, institutes of higher education, prisons, state hospitals, and various other buildings.
 

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