Last Friday, April 18th, Governor Patrick signed the Transportation Bond Bill, which authorizes $50 million in funding for cities and towns through a new Complete Streets Certification Program over the next five years!
Governor Patrick signs the Transportation Bond Bill into law at the conclusion of a meeting with his Cabinet secretaries.
This is a significant legislative victory and comes after a year of intensive advocacy and organizing by MPHA and the Act FRESH Campaign along with a great many allies representing community health, planning, public transit, walking, and biking advocates, along with municipal leaders from across the Commonwealth.
The Complete Streets Certification program will make it safer and easier to walk, bike, and use public transit across the Commonwealth.
Complete streets are one essential strategy to address health inequities. It is low income communities and communities of color who suffer the most from the effects of unsafe streets and lack of transportation options. These “incomplete streets” limit options for safe physical activity, as well as lead to higher pedestrian fatality rates, higher transportation costs, poor air quality, and barriers to opportunity that stand in the way of health, education, and prosperity for too many Massachusetts residents.
We applaud the efforts and support of key legislative allies, including the sponsors of the original legislation, Senator Harriette Chandler and Senator Jason Lewis, as well as Transportation Committee chairs Senator Tom McGee and Representative Bill Straus, and Bonding Committee chairs Senator Brian Joyce and Representative Tony Cabral.
Like with many policy issues that we fight for, the effort is not over with the law on the books. We will need to push hard to ensure the program is funded and implemented successfully. MPHA and our allies have begun conversations with MassDOT about implementation. We will need your continued support in the year ahead to ensure that this program truly makes a difference in the lives of Massachusetts residents.