Mass. aid in infrastructure bill could surpass $9 billion

The Bourne Bridge. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
The Bourne Bridge. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

As U.S. House Democrats push to bring cornerstones of President Joe Biden's domestic spending agenda forward for votes as soon as Friday, Massachusetts may be closer to receiving more than $9 billion toward its roads, bridges, water systems and other infrastructure needs.

A breakdown provided by Congresswoman Lori Trahan's office estimates Massachusetts would receive at least $9.08 billion from the $1 trillion infrastructure bill, which the Senate approved in August and may clear the House alongside a separate social spending package on Friday if House leaders succeed in their plans.

Over the next five years, funding formulas would steer at least $4.2 billion to Massachusetts for road improvements, $1.1 billion for bridge replacements and repairs, and $1.1 billion to improve water infrastructure by upgrading community water systems and replacing lead service lines, according to Trahan's office.

The infrastructure bill would direct no less than $2.5 billion to Massachusetts to modernize public transportation systems and make them more accessible. That money could go toward repairing and upgrading bus and rail fleets, replacing bus fleets with zero-emission vehicles, and retraining operators for modern vehicles, though it wasn't clear from the summary if agencies like the MBTA could use the funding to make up for decreases in fare revenue stemming from the pandemic.

Massachusetts is also poised to get a portion of a $3.5 billion pot to help weatherize homes and buildings in the face of threats from climate change, which Trahan said would reduce energy costs for families, as well as $100 million to provide statewide broadband coverage, $63 million to expand electric vehicle charging networks, $15.7 million to prevent cyberattacks, and $5.8 million to protect against wildfires.

The Bay State's total haul could be padded even further by grant funding. On top of dollars that will flow via formula, Massachusetts or individual communities could apply for competitive grants addressing issues such as combined sewage overflows and additional electric vehicle charging.

After months of stalled deliberations and reductions to the packages Biden initially proposed, Democrats in the U.S. House are pushing to vote on both a social spending bill and the Senate-passed infrastructure bill Friday, according to reports from outlets such as the New York Times and CNN.

Correction: Due to incorrect information provided to State House News Service, the original post contained incorrect amounts that Massachusetts could expect for home and building weatherization. The post has been updated. 

This article was originally published on November 05, 2021.



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