Mike on Transportation
As a member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, I have worked to secure funding for a number of important transportation projects. Some of these include the Green Line Extension (GLX), the North Washington Street Bridge, Melnea Cass Boulevard, the Chelsea Street Bridge, the Longfellow Bridge and Rutherford Avenue. Federal funding for projects like these is crucial to maintaining our infrastructure, which helps increase productivity. States and municipalities cannot fund such projects on their own, so it is important that the federal government contribute sufficient resources.
In 2015 the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) made its nearly $1 billion pledge to the GLX official when it formally signed a Full Funding Grant Agreement with the Commonwealth. This is a milestone I have been working toward for years and confirms the federal governmentís commitment to funding its share of this long awaited transit extension.
In 2014 we celebrated the first new MBTA station in three decades when the Assembly Square Orange Line Station opened to passengers. During one of Congressí transportation reauthorization debates over a decade ago, I worked to secure federal funding for this expansion and am pleased that work is now complete.
2014 also brought news that the Department of Transportation (DOT) awarded the MBTA with a $20 million TIGER grant to revitalize Bostonís Ruggles Station. The DOT received $9.5 billion in grant applications, which was more than 15 times the amount of federal money available for this round of TIGER grants.
In May of 2014, we celebrated a $310 million federal authorization for the Army Corps of Engineers to dredge the Boston Harbor. This work will deepen the harborís navigation channels so that it can accommodate newer, larger ships. The economic benefit of completing this dredging is significant, creating jobs and stimulating additional activity.
In recent transportation funding debates, Massachusetts has fared well. In December of 2015 H.R. 22, the Fixing Americaís Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, was signed into law. Over the next five years Massachusetts will receive $5 billion for highway and transit projects, which was a 9.7% increase over the current funding levels. The 2012 transportation reauthorization bill contained my legislation establishing a nationwide tunnel inspection program modeled after the bridge inspection program.
Increasing access to public transportation is a priority for me and I will keep advocating for the Green Line Extension as well as other efforts to improve the system. An enhanced public transportation network will give residents greater options, increase access to employment opportunities and help protect the environment.
President Trump has been pledging to advance a massive infrastructure initiative for months but so far little details have been offered. While there is generally broad agreement on the need to invest in our nationís infrastructure, the challenge is agreeing on how to pay for it.
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