Massachusetts Senate approves $200M road repair spending bill

Some cities and towns have been waiting weeks to receive road repair funding

BOSTON (WWLP) – We avoid potholes everyday, and hitting one can damage your car and put your safety at risk. But some cities and towns can’t afford to fix their roads without state funding.

On Wednesday, the Massachusetts Senate approved a $200 million spending bill to give cities and towns funding for road and bridge repairs. State Senator Eric Lesser told 22News that “There’s going to be a lot of really good projects that will get funded around our communities as a result of this money.”

The Senate initially called for a two-year allocation to cities and towns to plan large projects, but that proposal didn’t make the final bill. “I think it’d just be more efficient,” Senate President Stanley Rosenberg said. “The communities and the administration could plan better.”

Western Massachusetts roads are in great need of repair after this winter’s snow storms. Some lawmakers want even more funding, but State Senator Don Humason told 22News construction season has already begun and towns can’t wait.

“It’s time to get these projects started,” Humason said. “Get the cities and towns going, get the construction workers doing their jobs before our short season ends and let us argue about how we’ll continue to pay these bonds in multiple years.”

Funding is based on city population and road mileage. Larger communities like Chicopee will receive around $1.3 million, while Easthampton will receive nearly $500,000.

Governor Charlie Baker must approve the spending plan before any cities or towns receive funding. He is expected to sign the bill into law within a week.