Spending plan also funds statewide school safety initiatives, Community Preservation Act
Governor Baker has signed a $541 million Fiscal Year 2018 supplemental budget that includes $40 million for municipal road and bridge projects under the state’s Chapter 90 program, as well as additional funding assistance for school safety initiatives and other municipal priorities.
House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading), Representative James Dwyer (D-Woburn), and Senate Assistant Majority Whip Jason Lewis (D-Winchester) noted that the supplemental budget provides $118,613 for Reading to spend on local transportation infrastructure. This is on top of the $593,065 Reading received as part of a $200 million Chapter 90 bond authorization approved by the Legislature in April, bringing the town’s total funding award for this year to $711,678.
In addition to the Chapter 90 funding, the supplemental budget also makes $7.5 million in infrastructure grants available for Massachusetts school districts seeking to implement safety and security upgrades in grades K-12. Another $7.5 million in grant funding has been set aside to allow schools to contract with licensed community-based mental and behavioral health specialists.
The supplemental budget also includes:
- $5 million to assist school districts with high concentrations of low-income students in carrying out targeted intervention and turnaround efforts to address student achievement gaps;
- $10 million to pay for improvements to municipal and regional water infrastructure; and
- A $10 million transfer to the Community Preservation Act Trust Fund to assist communities in their efforts to create affordable housing and preserve open space and historic sites
“The supplemental budget wisely invests some of the state’s Fiscal Year 2018 surplus into programs that will directly benefit our cities and towns,” said Representative Jones. “I’m particularly happy we were able to provide additional funding to help Reading address its critical infrastructure needs, and will be making other funding available for school districts across the state to implement important security upgrades to keep students safe.”
“Terrific financial news for our cities and towns,” said Representative Dwyer. “Reading will receive an additional $118,613 in local aid, which will assist in improving Reading’s infrastructure while addressing and improving school safety issues. I was proud to advocate with our Reading delegation to secure this additional surplus funding.”
“The budget bill will support our towns and cities with essential funding for local road repairs and school security, delivering the support that our communities need from the state,” said Senator Lewis. “At the same time, the bill invests substantially in our rainy day fund to make sure that our state is prepared to meet any future economic downturn without interruptions to crucial state services and programs.”
Established by the Legislature in 1973, the Chapter 90 program distributes funding to cities and towns on an annual basis, using a formula based on the weighted average of a municipality’s population, employment, and total road miles. The money is paid out as reimbursements to communities for qualifying infrastructure work, which can include road resurfacing, drainage, sidewalks, traffic control, and street lighting. The money can also be used to purchase and maintain certain road building machinery, equipment, and tools.