Senator Jason Lewis joined his Massachusetts State Senate colleagues to unanimously pass a $5.1 billion general government bond bill to fund construction projects related to health care, public higher education, state information technology, workforce development, the environment, affordable housing, and more.
“I’m pleased that passage of this important legislation will provide funding over the next five years for a wide variety of necessary public infrastructure projects across Massachusetts,” said Senator Lewis. “This funding will enable the state to improve and upgrade health care facilities, courts, public higher education facilities, and state government’s IT infrastructure including unemployment insurance access, as well as building upgrades to reduce carbon emissions and other general facilities improvements.”
The bill authorizes funding for infrastructure upgrades and improvements, including:
- $820 million (M) to acquire, maintain and repair state-owned health care facilities
- $750M for building improvements and repairs at public colleges and universities
- $675M for improvements to court facilities
- $100M in grants to support municipalities in addressing local building facility needs
- $400M for projects to decarbonize and reduce the environmental impact of state-owned facilities
- $64M for the Water Pollution Abatement Revolving Fund, which provides local governments and utilities with grants to build or replace water infrastructure and ensure safe sources of drinking water
- $100M for career technical skills and capital grants to enhance workforce training for in-demand jobs and industries
- $60M for the Housing Stabilization and Investment Trust Fund, which supports affordable rental housing production and rehabilitation, and $25M for grants to support cities and towns that are producing new housing
- $100M to update information technology used by state agencies, including investments to support the educational workforce and to modernize the state’s unemployment insurance system
- $51M to fight food insecurity
- $50M for the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund to support facilities improvements at arts and cultural institutions
- $20M to support cities and towns offering hybrid public meetings through technology grants
The bill also includes a five-year moratorium on the construction of any new prisons in Massachusetts.
The Massachusetts House and Senate will now work to reconcile the differences between the versions of the bill passed in each branch before the final version is sent to Governor Charlie Baker for his signature.