Boston – The Massachusetts Senate on Thursday approved legislation to accelerate the repair and replacement of the state’s most structurally deficient bridges. The $3 billion bond bill, originally filed by Governor Patrick, establishes an eight-year plan to fix 250 to 300 Massachusetts bridges identified as being in urgent need of repair.
“We cannot wait for tragedy to strike, we need to take a proactive approach when it comes to ensuring the integrity of our public transportation infrastructure,” said State Senator Benjamin B. Downing (D-Pittsfield). “The passage of this measure, paired with our recent action on a larger transportation bond, marks the Senate’s clear commitment to this basic government responsibility.”
The bill also provides for the ongoing maintenance of bridges and will reduce the number of structurally deficient bridges by 15 percent over the next eight years. Additionally, by starting projects now rather than waiting, the Commonwealth will save approximately $1.5 billion in inflation and deferred maintenance costs while creating new jobs for the economy.
The $3 billion in financing for the bridge bill includes $1.1 billion borrowed against anticipated future federal funding and $1.9 billion in gas tax bonds to be repaid with existing gas tax revenues.
The Senate continues to review proposals for the Commonwealth to guarantee Massachusetts Turnpike Authority debt.
The bill now goes back to the House of Representatives for further action.