BOSTON — Gov. Maura Healey is pledging more money to build new housing, redevelop cities and towns, and fix potholed roads and decaying bridges.
A bill filed by the Democrat on Thursday seeks authorization from the state Legislature to borrow up to $987 million to pump more money into state capital programs for housing and economic development and help rope in competitive federal grants for infrastructure improvements.
“This bill ensures that critical housing, infrastructure and community development programs have the funding needed to continue serving the people of Massachusetts,” Healey said Thursday. “And it’s only the start of our administration’s proposed capital investments.”
Under the proposal, about $400 million would be diverted to MassWorks, a state program that provides capital funds to cities and towns for public infrastructure projects. Healey said without additional funding the program will run out of grant money.
Other funding includes $34 million for a program that pays for rehabilitating blighted state properties; $15 million for the Massachusetts Manufacturing Innovation Initiative and $9.3 million for the state’s Middle Mile broadband internet expansion program.
Healey is also seeking $104 million for the state’s Clean Water Trust to pay for communities’ efforts to improve water infrastructure and quality.
The borrowing plan also calls for $200 million as a state match to compete for the federal CHIPS Act award funding, and $30 million to meet the qualifications to compete for federal broadband funding through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
Healey has also filed a proposed $400 million bond bill that would be divided among the state’s 351 municipalities to fix roads, bridges and pay for other transportation projects. The extra money would be distributed though Chapter 90 grants over the next two years.
Generally, Chapter 90 funding is done on a yearly basis but Healey said the two-year authorization will “enable cities and towns sufficient times to put the funds to work given the planning and coordination required to get these critical projects completed.”
To be sure, doling out pothole money at the beginning of a new administration has become a common practice for Massachusetts governors.
One of Gov. Charlie Baker’s first actions as chief executive in 2015 was to release $100 million in Chapter 90 transportation funds that were tied up by infighting between lawmakers and his predecessor, Gov. Deval Patrick.
Massachusetts needs an estimated $1 billion a year in the next decade to maintain and upgrade its deteriorating roads, according to a report often cited by state and local officials. The state also must find a way to spend $684 million a year for road maintenance costs, the report found.
Money for Chapter 90 funds comes from the state’s gas tax, which was increased to 24 cents per gallon in 2013 and generates $50 million to $60 million a month, according to the state Department of Revenue.
Communities take a slice of the money based on population and the number of miles of roads within their borders.
Lawmakers raised the tax by 3 cents, collecting another $7 million to $8 million a month, and tacked on a provision pegging future increases to inflation. State officials said doing that would raise $183 million more for road and bridge upgrades in a decade.
But voters overwhelmingly approved a measure to undo gas tax indexing in the November 2014 election.
Christian M. Wade covers the Massachusetts Statehouse for North of Boston Media Group’s newspapers and websites. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.