Saying she wants her administration to be known as one "driving economic development," growth and opportunity, Gov. Maura Healey on Thursday announced plans to put before the Legislature a $987 million "immediate needs" bond bill for housing and economic development programs.
Healey also is filing a bill to authorize the state to borrow an additional $400 million to fund roads and bridges under the Chapter 90 program for the next two years.
Cities and towns are seeking a minimum $600 million commitment over two years. At a press conference in western Massachusetts, Healey discussed the first bill she's filing, saying it will "ensure critical housing and economic development programs across the state can continue to serve the people of Massachusetts without interruption." "This includes production and preservation of affordable rental housing, public housing, climate resilient housing and transit oriented developments," Healey said during a visit to Greylock Works in North Adams Thursday afternoon.
The bill, which Healey called the 2023 Immediate Needs Bond Bill, authorizes funding for cities and towns, including targeted funds for rural and small towns to support libraries, seaport development, housing, tourism and planning, the governor said.
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The bill also expands the Middle Mile broadband program, "which expands high speed internet to communities across the state, especially rural communities here in the Berkshires, and we understand how important the work is to make that real," Healey said.
Also included in the bill is $400 million for the MassWorks Infrastructure Program and an extension of its authorization into fiscal year 2028. "These are the types of innovative projects our administration wants to support across the state and with the 2023 Immediate Needs Bond Bill, we're one step closer to doing just that," Healey said.
Healey said her administration also plans to fill a more comprehensive bond bill later in the session.