BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) — A new federal transportation bill promises no new funding for Massachusetts roads. Transportation advocates say the two-year bill passed by Congress in July requires Massachusetts to be more proactive at convincing Washington to supply new money for roads, bridges and public transportation.
“The biggest take away is that we gotta fight for more money at the federal level and that the federal government is not going to be the white horse that comes into Massachusetts,” said Kristina Egan, the Massachusetts Director of Transportation for America.
The bill is called Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21
st Century, or MAP-21 for short. Unlike past bills, it doesn’t earmark money for states. Instead it requires states to lay out a plan for what they build and what other funding sources the state has collected.
“For the first time, in a good way, the new federal transportation bill …asks the very tough questions. What have you produced, what are the outcomes, what’s the performance we’ve achieved from our investments?” said Transportation for America Director James Corless.
Lawmakers say the bill is a great opportunity for the western part of the state to form a strong voice around its transportation needs.
“Gone are the days where regional transportation, people that live in the RTA areas, are going to be paying for everybody else’s transportation. We’re done with that. And so we just need to be able to come together with a strong voice to be able to do it,” said Rep. Tricia Farley Bouvier (D-Pittsfield).
Advocates say Massachusetts has chronically underfunded regional transportation systems, more than 500 bridges in need of repair and the most indebted transportation agency in the country, Boston’s MBTA (the “T”).
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