Benefits to Mary’s Pond Road included in state transportation bill

Aug 2, 2022

BOSTON – Two million dollars have been allocated for improvements to culverts on Mary’s Pond Road in Rochester as part of an $11.4 billion transportation and infrastructure bond bill approved Aug. 1 by the state House of Representatives, State Rep. William Straus, D-Mattapoisett, has announced.

The bill now moves on to the governor for his consideration.

The legislation is intended to authorize state spending of federal transportation dollars received under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law signed by President Joe Biden last November.

It also authorizes additional state borrowing in support of municipal road improvement programs, electric vehicle charging infrastructure, and $400 million for safety improvement projects at the MBTA.

The conference committee tasked with reconciling language differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill was led by Straus, who serves as House chair of the Joint Committee on Transportation.

One hundred and seventy-five million dollars are dedicated to building out electric vehicle charging infrastructure and among those funds, $50 million is dedicated to the MassEVIP Direct Current Fast Charging program.

Fifty million dollars are dedicated to creating incentive programs to encourage the adoption of electric vehicles of all types, including school buses, freight trucks and electric bicycles.

A substantial amount of funding will be provided for the electrification of the Commuter Rail system, with language requiring the MBTA to create and implement plans for the full electrification of each branch of the commuter rail.

Several amendments sponsored by Rep. Straus were adopted and included in the conference report, including an amendment that authorized borrowing of $100 million for permitting and construction of the New Bedford-Fairhaven bridge and the reauthorization of a $25 million earmark for the New Bedford Regional Airport that had previously been included in a 2014 borrowing bill.

Straus also secured $900,000 in debt authorization for emergency extraction equipment for local public safety departments that will serve South Coast Rail, and another $125,000 is included in the legislation for restoring into use the freight rail spur on New Bedford State Pier.