GOVERNOR PATRICK ANNOUNCES $165 MILLION IN PRIORITIES FOR SECOND ROUND OF HIGHWAY STIMULUS PROJECTS
Proposed projects part of lead-up to Governor's Economic Summit set for Tuesday; Regional equity, long-term economic growth and sustainable transportation are top priorities
BOSTON - Monday, October 26, 2009 - As part of his Massachusetts Recovery Plan to secure the state's economic future, Governor Deval Patrick today released a list of 33 priority projects, estimated to cost more than $165.6 million, that the Patrick-Murray Administration is proposing to fund in the second round of highway investment under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The broad range of projects are spread throughout the Commonwealth and achieve Governor Patrick's goal of creating short and long-term jobs, sustained regional economic growth and stronger communities and transit across Massachusetts.
"These projects put stimulus money and Massachusetts people to work," said Governor Patrick. "This administration is all about investing in our future, and these funds help."
Federal stimulus investment will be a key focus of the Governor's Economic Summit set to convene tomorrow, Tuesday, October 27 th at the Boston Federal Reserve Bank. The Governor is assembling a cross-section of statewide business, financial, education, and public policy leaders to identify ways to promote long-term economic recovery and job growth throughout the Commonwealth.
"Communities across the Commonwealth will benefit from these projects that will create jobs and improve our transportation infrastructure," said Lieutenant Governor Timothy P. Murray. "We look forward to getting shovels in the ground as quickly as possible."
The projects will now be reviewed for final approval by the state's 13 regional Metropolitan Planning Organizations. When approved and put out to bid, they will complete the Patrick-Murray Administration's investment of the $437.9 million in ARRA highway funds allocated to the state by the federal government. The projects include a $3.6 million bike path connector for the Alewife Greenway Corridor, $7.5 million in improvements to Worcester's Canal District, a $10 million "flex" of highway dollars to support improvements in MBTA bus service and reliability, and over 25 important road improvement projects that stretch across the state from Attleboro, Amherst, Chicopee, Ludlow, and Norwood.
"This significant investment means jobs, jobs, and more jobs throughout Massachusetts. It will help ease traffic congestion and modernize our state's transportation infrastructure. It's a win for the economy, our struggling workers, our businesses, and the environment," said Senator John Kerry.
"Needed projects to rebuild and maintain state and local infrastructure in Massachusetts and across the country have been hit hard by the economic crisis, and so has the construction industry," said Senator Paul G. Kirk, Jr. "I commend the Governor for his plan. It will pave the way for economic growth across the Commonwealth, and it also provides jobs for our hard-working citizens suffering from the current jobless recovery."
"These critical Recovery Act funds will help put the Bay State on the road to an economic recovery, creating jobs and repairing roads across the state," said Congressman Ed Markey. "I commend Governor Patrick for his leadership on this issue and his work to create jobs and ease traffic congestion across the Commonwealth."
"I would like to thank the Governor for directing this money to important transportation projects in the district that I represent," said Congressman Barney Frank. "These projects will help local communities and also give the Massachusetts economy a needed boost."
"This federal money targeted for highway projects in western Massachusetts will help create jobs and boost economic growth. It will also improve local streets and highways where thousands of people drive each day. By investing in our transportation infrastructure, we will make much needed improvements to our roadways, help reduce congestion, and increase user safety. Quite simply, these stimulus dollars will make the Pioneer Valley a better and more attractive place to live, work, and visit," said Congressman Richard E. Neal.
Congressman John Olver, Chairman of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Committee, said, "The intent of the Recovery Act was to put people to work and improve the economy. Investing in transportation projects is one of the best ways of doing this. The release of these Recovery funds represents a sizeable investment in the economy, and infrastructure, of western and central Massachusetts. Nearly every community will benefit."
"These two projects in Quincy and Weymouth are important to the economic vitality of the region and will create hundreds of jobs," said Congressman William Delahunt. "Regarding the Quincy concourse project, Mayor Koch has made the revitalization of downtown Quincy a priority. With respect to the East-West Parkway at the South Weymouth Naval Air Station, the funding is the culmination of years of hard work, and will help jump start the next phase of redevelopment at the base."
"I'm very pleased with these stimulus projects, which will create jobs and improve our communities," Congressman Jim McGovern said. "The Route 152 project in Attleboro will help improve traffic flow and public safety. The Route 24 bridge over Bedford Street is due for repair. I'm particularly excited about the Canal District project in Worcester. This is a rapidly developing neighborhood in the city, close to public transportation. These improvements will enhance the neighborhood's reputation as a great place to live and work. I want to thank Governor Patrick and Lieutenant Governor Murray for their commitment to these needed projects."
"With the foresight and help of Senator McGee and the Lynn delegation, we were able to ensure that the Blossom Street Ferry Terminal was eligible for federal recovery funds. I am pleased that Governor Patrick is putting federal dollars toward this economic development project which will create jobs and enhance transportation options for North Shore residents and visitors. It is this type of project that Congress envisioned when we passed The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act earlier this year," said Congressman John F. Tierney
"These projects, funded by the stimulus bill, will improve our transportation infrastructure and help create long term economic development opportunities," said Congressman Mike Capuano. "They will also put people to work, which is critically important to economic recovery."
"I'm pleased to see that Governor Patrick and Lieutenant Governor Murray have targeted these highway projects for stimulus funding. This is the type of project that will create real construction jobs, improve transit and strengthen our communities," Congressman Stephen F. Lynch said. "We have to do everything we can during these difficult financial times to relieve some of the financial burden faced by our cities and towns while completing long-awaited, critical infrastructure."
The second round of ARRA highway funding also includes projects that support key long-term economic development goals, including $8.1 million to make improvements to a connector road that will allow better redevelopment of downtown Quincy by separating local traffic from thru traffic, $8.4 million to make improvements to Lynn's Blossom Street Ferry Terminal to support a commuter ferry and development in downtown Lynn, $15 million in roadway, bike and pedestrian improvements to support the Assembly Square redevelopment project in Somerville, and $15 million for the East West Parkway project which serves as a backbone for Southfield redevelopment.
As of September 30, Massachusetts had 48 highway projects in the pipeline to construction, worth more than $272 million. The state was required to obligate approximately $153 million by the end of June 2009. During that timeframe, the Patrick-Murray Administration delivered 31 projects totaling $187.4 million and cut the advertising/bid/contract period from 120 days to 44.
In addition to ARRA funding, the Patrick-Murray Administration is investing billions in the state's neglected roads and bridges, including the eight year, $3 billion Accelerated Bridge Program (ABP) to repair broken bridges. As of September, the Accelerated Bridge Program had reduced the number of structurally deficient bridges by 52. Spending on road and bridge repair programs in the last federal fiscal year totaled $771 million - a figure that is up from $546 million last year and $502 million in FY 2006.
"These recovery funds will immediately create jobs, improve our transportation system and stimulate economic development. Governor Patrick has made the right choice in funding a comprehensive transportation strategy," said Senator Marc Pacheco, Senate Chair of the Federal Stimulus Oversight Committee.
"We are reversing decades of neglect by making transportation investments that fix broken roads and bridges but also support stronger, healthier communities," said Transportation Secretary James A. Aloisi, Jr. "From expansion of bike paths, to an unprecedented focus on transit and repairs to our aging roads, we are making investments that will pay off today and well into the future."
"One aspect of transportation reform includes finding creative solutions that invest our limited transportation dollars wisely. These ARRA projects are a symbol of our new approach to prioritizing projects that will spur private sector development, lead to long term job growth, and balance the needs of all transportation users," said Incoming MassDOT Secretary and C.E.O. Jeffrey Mullan.
"Fulfilling the administration's commitment to provide jobs for today and jobs for tomorrow with a balanced stimulus program is further demonstrated by this action," said Infrastructure Investment Director Jeffrey Simon. "We will continue to balance the projects that can start quickly and make necessary transportation improvements with projects that lay the foundation for solid and sustained long term growth of the Massachusetts economy."
To learn more about Massachusetts Recovery Plan and download a list of the second round projects visit: www.mass.gov/eot/recovery. For transportation news and updates visit EOT's blog at www.mass.gov/blog/transportation or follow them on twitter at www.twitter.com/massdot.