This week the MA Department of Transportation (MassDOT) announced that they are launching a $3 to $5 million pilot project for the Complete Streets Certification Program! This means cities and towns will be able to apply for funding to make local streets safer and more inviting for people to walk, run, and bike. This will result in better health for Massachusetts residents, who will have more opportunities to be active, thus reducing chronic disease. This is especially true in low-income communities, which currently have fewer places, sidewalks, and bikeways for residents to safely be outdoors and be active.
It also supports the state’s goal to triple the number of people that walk, bike and take public transit.
MPHA and the Act FRESH Coalition worked closely with T4Mass, MAPC, MassBike, and WalkBoston to get the MA Legislature to include language from the initial Active Streets bill in the Transportation Bond bill, along with $50 million of bond funding over five years. Four months ago we celebrated when Governor Patrick signed that bill into law.
Since then, the MPHA-led Active Streets Working Group has focused its attention on MassDOT- urging them to move forward on this new program (and start appropriating the bond-funded money to municipalities) sooner than later. And that’s just what they are doing- launching a pilot project for a brand new program to award upwards of $5 million this year.
We want to thank MassDOT Secretary Richard Davey plus staffers Dave Mohler, Ned Codd, and Steve Woelfel for their commitment to complete streets.
The Complete Streets Certification Program wouldn’t be a reality without the leadership of Sen. Harriette Chandler, Sen. Jason Lewis, Sen. Brian Joyce, Sen. Jamie Eldridge, and Rep. Antonio Cabral.
Even with this great news of $5 million, there’s more work to do– and we’ll need your help!– to get the remaining $45 million appropriated and awarded to municipalities. This will be a key opportunity for our new governor in 2015 to be a leader for healthier communities!