Boston- State Senator Benjamin B. Downing (D-Pittsfield) is pleased to announce that on Tuesday evening the Massachusetts Senate voted unanimously – 38-0 – to engross its version of the Environmental Bond Bill. This capital spending plan, designed to improve and protect the Commonwealth’s environmental infrastructure over the next 5 years, includes several local priorities secured by Downing.
“This bond provides the environmental agencies with a work plan to guide them in their mission of protecting, preserving and enhancing our natural resources and assets,” said Downing. “This bond authorizes capital funding for open space preservation, safety improvements for dam infrastructure and seawalls, enhancements for state parks, beaches, pools and parkways, and it provides for forestry, wildlife, coastal and river initiatives and clean energy programming. This bond allows Massachusetts to continue to invest in and take care of its common wealth of natural resources.”
Since Governor Patrick filed the spending plan last December, the Environmental Bond Bill has been reviewed by the Environment, Bonding and Ways and Means Committees in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Each step of the way, Downing and his House colleagues in the Berkshire Delegation have successfully secured authorizations for projects and programming that enhance environmental assets in western Massachusetts, including:
- $3.35 million for the Notch Reservoir and Mount Williams Reservoir Dams in the City of North Adams for phase II inspections and emergency repairs
- $2.5 million for East Windsor Dam in the Town of Dalton to fund emergency repairs and renovations
- $650,000 for enhancements and repairs to the Laurel Lake Public Access Boat Ramp in the Town of Lee
- $5 million to establish a new Grant Program to Assist Municipalities with the Control of Invasive Aquatic Species in Lakes and Ponds
- Creation of new Land Conservation Incentives in the form of state income tax credits to land owners who protect environmentally valuable land, making it viable for a greater number of private landowners to donate land to the state or land trusts
- $15 million to design, plan and maintain bike paths, facilities and greenways for the bicycle recreating public statewide
The Environmental Bond Bill is now before the House of Representatives for further consideration and final enactment.