July 29, 2005
Congressman Mike Capuano, Senator Edward Kennedy and Senator John Kerry announced that the Conference Report for H.R. 3: "The Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users" (SAFETEA-LU) passed the House today. It is expected to pass the Senate this week and be signed into law by the President. This $286.4 billion six-year surface transportation bill funds road and transit projects across the country. It contains $3.658 billion in funding over six years for Massachusetts' highways and $1.576 billion over six years for transit projects for a total of $5.23 billion. The funding in H.R. 3 represents an increase of approximately $1.08 billion or 25% over the last transportation reauthorization bill.
"This money will translate into significant improvements to our transportation infrastructure. The funding provided through this legislation will help improve roadways, repair bridges and enhance transit options for commuters throughout the state. It will also benefit our working families and regional economy by creating thousands of jobs," stated Congressman Mike Capuano, who is a member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.
"This is a big victory for Massachusetts for our commuters, environment, and economy," Senator Kennedy said. "To remain competitive, we need to make critical investments to repair aging roads and bridges and to reduce congestion through expanded public transportation. With these funds, we'll be able to address key transportation challenges in every corner of the Commonwealth."
"This record level of funding will help cities and towns across Massachusetts make critically needed repairs to our aging transportation infrastructure. This will help reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality across Massachusetts. I am pleased to work with Senator Kennedy, Congressman Capuano and the rest of the Massachusetts delegation to secure this funding," said Senator Kerry.
According to U.S. Department of Transportation figures, the legislation will create at least 41,000 jobs per year in Massachusetts, 8,500 of which are new employment opportunities. A portion of the state's overall funding allocation has been set aside for a number of specifically identified projects across Massachusetts. Some of the projects in the 8th district receiving funding include:
The legislation also contains authorizing language for the following transit projects: the Green Line extension to Medford, the Silver Line Phase Three (final design and construction), the Urban Ring, the Blue Line extension, the Fitchburg Commuter Rail extension, the New Bedford-Fall River Commuter Rail extension and the North-South Rail Link. Authorizing language makes these projects eligible for future federal funding. The bill also designates the northbound and southbound tunnel of Interstate 93 the Thomas P. "Tip" O'Neill, Jr. Tunnel, in recognition of the late Speaker's significant contribution to the construction of the Central Artery/Tunnel Project.
"Passage of H.R. 3 represents a critical step forward in meeting the Commonwealth's transportation needs. Maintaining and improving our transportation infrastructure is vital to ensuring that Massachusetts remains competitive and this bill includes billions of dollars for improvements to our roads, bridges and transit that will help achieve that goal," stated Congressman Capuano.
Contact: Alison M. Mills (617) 621-6208