Capuano: Accord raises Mass. highway, transit $$$ by 9.7 percent

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STATE HOUSE, BOSTON, DEC. 1, 2015….Congressional leaders on Tuesday announced they’ve reached agreement on a five-year $305 billion transportation funding bill that sponsors believe will provide predictable revenues to the states by reauthorizing federal highway, transit, safety and rail programs.

Somerville Rep. Michael Capuano was on the conference committee and said in an email Tuesday that he expects the U.S. House to pass the bill Thursday and the Senate to follow suit next week. The bill is known as the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act.

Massachusetts is expected to receive more than $5 billion for highways and transit, an increase of more than $447 million or 9.7 percent over current funding levels, according to Capuano.

“Although this bill is not all it could be, in light of the current atmosphere in Washington and the never-ending population shift out of New England, I am very proud of my work on this matter and am confident it will help Massachusetts move forward in our quest to improvement our transportation infrastructure,” Capuano wrote.

The bill includes additional Federal Transit Authority competitive grant programs that Massachusetts will be eligible to pursue, Capuano said, with the establishment of a $303 million per year bus discretionary program and a $20 million per year research program.

The White House Council of Economic Advisors has estimated that for every $1 billion in federal funds spent on highways and transit, 13,000 jobs are supported for a year, “so this bill can be fairly expected to support over 4 million jobs during the next five years,” Capuano wrote.

Copyright 2015 State House News Service

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