Last Friday, I had the honor of joining President Obama at the White House for the signing of the Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2012. It was an important moment for the country, and for Massachusetts, because it will allow us to make strategic investments that create jobs and enable growth across our economy.
I applaud President Obama, and the Massachusetts delegation, for pushing through this important piece of legislation.
As Lt. Governor, I have been working directly on transportation issues across Massachusetts because roads, bridges, railways, airports and seaports are the enabling network of our economy. The Seaport Advisory Council, which I chair, has partnered with New Bedford, Fall River, Gloucester, Salem and other communities to improve their maritime infrastructure and the jobs it supports. I’ve focused on rail issues, starting the process of extending passenger rail service to the South Coast, and leading our administration’s years-long effort that achieved an historic agreement to relocate the CSX rail yard in Boston. The CSX project will enhance commuter rail service through Metrowest and to Worcester, improve the movement of freight throughout the state, and create a major redevelopment opportunity along the Charles River where the rail yard now stands.
Throughout this work, and other projects, I’ve seen first-hand the clear relationship between the quality of transportation infrastructure, job creation and economic growth. This new federal law will authorize $105 billion in funding through Fiscal Year 2014, of which Massachusetts will receive nearly $1.2 billion for highway investments and more than $695 million for transit investments. That will mean roughly 11,000 new jobs per year for the next two years, working on vital projects that will strengthen our economy.
For example, the new funding will pay for rehabilitation of the I-291 bridge over Page Boulevard in Springfield; replacement of the Route 146 bridge over West Main Street in Millbury; reconstruction of Liberty Street in Danvers; and many other projects across the Commonwealth. For a list of projects to be funded please go to www.timmurray.org. Furthermore, we will leverage the federal program to continue to invest in our 15 regional transit authorities and the MBTA, improving mobility for residents of our Gateway cities, our seniors, and persons with disabilities.
When Governor Patrick and I took office in 2007 we made it a priority to fix our crumbling roads and bridges, and improve our railways, airports and sea ports. Through the Accelerated Bridge Program, and the transportation bond bill investments we have made all across Massachusetts, we have made important progress, but there is still much more work to be done.
While we must continue the discussion on how we fund our statewide transportation system in the next year, this new federal funding will allow us to move forward in many ways. As always, we welcome the BMG community’s support and feedback on this important issue.