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At MassDOT, transportation is not about roads and bridges, or trains and buses – it is about people. Our mission begins with customers - individuals, businesses, cities and towns, and regional transit agencies. We support programs and projects that deliver a high return on investment. We partner with cities and towns, public agencies, and private sector businesses. MassDOT supports the economic, quality of life, and environmental goals of the Commonwealth.
The Healey-Driscoll Administration today announced an investment of $50 million in initiatives to build out electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure across Massachusetts. The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds will increase access to charging infrastructure for more residents, electrify the state fleet, improve operation of public charging stations, manage the impact of charging infrastructure on the electric grid, and provide charging solutions for difficult to electrify vehicle types.
“State and rideshare vehicles contribute a disproportionate amount of transportation emissions, so by investing in the electrification of these vehicles, we can have a much more cost-effective impact on emissions,” said Governor Maura Healey. “Our administration is committed to leading by example in addressing climate change, and we are pleased that these funds will also allow Massachusetts to more quickly electrify its fleet.”
“Many Massachusetts drivers want to make the switch to electric vehicles, but worry about access to charging,” said Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll. “This investment will break down barriers to widespread electric vehicle adoption and help Massachusetts meet its ambitious greenhouse gas emissions targets.”
The $50 million in ARPA funds will support innovative EV technology programs at the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC), charging infrastructure investments for the state fleet through Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM) and the Department of Energy Resources (DOER), testing equipment and staff at the Division of Standards (DOS) to conduct inspections of public charging stations, and future analysis of EV charging needs by the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Coordinating Council (EVICC).
“Vehicle emissions not only contribute significantly to climate change, but also impact public health, especially in environmental justice communities,” said **Secretary for Energy and Environmental Affairs Rebecca Tepper. **“With this funding, the Healey-Driscoll Administration is creating more equitable access to clean transportation and ensuring drivers in all communities across Massachusetts have the option to choose an electric vehicle.”
“This funding will help make a bigger impact in the lives of our residents across the state as it relates to the future of transportation,” said **Transportation Secretary and CEO Monica Tibbits-Nutt. **“Taking the steps to increase measures like fast-charging stations and decarbonization will position us to offer better choices to residents that will be good for the environment and for us as we all work to respond to climate change.”
“Decarbonization and addressing climate change are core priorities of DCAMM’s operations,” said DCAMM Commissioner Adam Baacke. “We are excited to be a part of this important investment in EV charging infrastructure.”
“This significant investment from the Healey-Driscoll Administration will help make the transition to electric vehicles a more accessible and affordable opportunity for the Commonwealth’s residents and business owners,” said MassCEC CEO Dr. Emily Reichert. “These ARPA funds will directly impact our work to increase curbside charging stations, expand mobile charging for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, speed up the electrification of taxi and rideshare fleets, and advance emerging technology that allows EV owners to use their car to power other sources."
The following initiatives will receive funding:
**Electric Vehicle Curbside Parking for Residents in Multi-Unit Dwellings - $12.5 million **
MassCEC will work to help municipalities expand access to EV charging for residents with limited access to home charging, particularly in environmental justice and urban communities. Pole-mounted and streetlight chargers represent a promising strategy to use existing assets to expand access to curbside charging, but this potential is limited by barriers such as regulatory hurdles, complex ownership structures and unclear business and financial models.
The project aims to increase the number of overnight curbside charging stations, including accessible pole-mounted and streetlamp EV charging solutions. A technical consultant will deploy on-street charging near multi-unit dwelling neighborhoods and provide guidance to municipalities for future implementation.
**Medium- and Heavy-Duty Electrification Mobile Charging Solutions - $9.5 million **
Medium and Heavy-Duty (MDHD) vehicles make up 3% of Massachusetts vehicles, yet produce 20% of on-road vehicle emissions, making their electrification critical to reaching the state’s climate goals and to improve air quality in environmental justice communities, especially those near warehouses and ports. One major challenge to achieving electrification in this sector is project delays due to limits in grid infrastructure. Mobile charging represents a promising technology that could help fleet operators avoid delays and resist the urge to overbuild through temporary mobile charging solutions. MassCEC will complete a market characterization study paired with deployment projects to demonstrate mobile charging financial models and use cases.
**Ride-For-Hire Vehicle Electrification Charging Solutions - $8 million **
Uber, Lyft and taxi drivers drive a lot of miles, spend a lot of money on gasoline, and need a lot of charging. MassCEC will deploy EV charging to support the electrification of taxi and transportation network company (TNC) fleets. Electrification of this sector can help support the deployment of electric vehicles in urban areas and environmental justice communities. For example, studies in California show that while TNC drivers make up less than 3% of electric vehicle (EV) drivers, they account for over 40% of all public fast charger use. This project will fund level 2 and fast charging infrastructure projects with a focus on deploying charging resources in environmental justice communities, where a high percentage of TNC drivers reside.
**Vehicle-To-Everything (V2X) Analysis and Demonstration Projects - $8 million **
The widespread deployment of bidirectional technology would allow EV owners to use their car battery as a resource to reduce home energy costs or sell electricity onto the grid. V2X systems both charge and discharge an EV’s battery, enabling EVs to act as a grid resource by sending energy stored in the onboard battery to the local utility grid or to a grid-connected asset such as a building. This would have the potential transform our relationship with the grid, providing EV drivers with a mobile source of storage and opening up potential revenue streams to support EV adoption for low-income drivers. MassCEC will complete a market characterization analysis and demonstration projects that support vehicle-to-grid and/or vehicle-to-building projects designed to reduce peak demand and provide grid services.
**EV Charging at Priority State Facilities - $9.5 million **
DCAMM will seek to install fleet EV charging infrastructure in 60 or more high priority sites at state facilities. Each site would receive an average of 4 EV ports and 4 make-ready spots, making it easy to double the number of charging stations in the future.
**EV Charging for Other State Vehicles - $1.5 million **
DOER will provide funding to other agencies to install fleet EV charging infrastructure at approximately 60 sites, focusing on those not on the high priority list, non-executive branch fleets, and leased facilities.
**EV Charging Testing Equipment – $604,000 **
DOS will purchase EV charging infrastructure testing equipment and hire staff to conduct inspections of public charging stations to ensure that they remain in working order and adhere to a common set of standards.
**EV Charging Needs Analysis - $396,000 **
This funding will support the analytical needs of the EVICC through the end of 2026 to help it continue to assess the current state of EV charging infrastructure and future needs of Massachusetts as it promotes the electrification of the transportation sector.
**Background on Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Coordinating Council **
The EVICC was authorized by “An Act Driving Clean Energy and Offshore Wind” in 2022. The Climate Law requires that the EVICC assess and report on strategies and plans necessary to deploy electric vehicle charging infrastructure to establish an equitable, interconnected, accessible and reliable electric vehicle charging network. Since convening in May, the EVICC has held 10 public meetings on state EV infrastructure strategy.
In August 2023, the EVICC submitted an Initial Assessment to the Legislature which found that approximately 10,000 publicly accessible fast charging ports will be necessary to support the light-duty vehicle fleet by 2030, in addition to 35,000 publicly accessible Level 2 stations and more than 700,000 residential and workplace charging stations.
Earlier this year, the Administration expanded the Massachusetts Offers Rebates for Electric Vehicles Program (MOR-EV Program), which provides rebates for the purchase or lease of light-, medium-, and heavy-duty battery electric and fuel cell electric vehicles (EVs). In addition to the existing $3,500 rebates for EVs, the new MOR-EV program includes the rebates at the point-of-sale with participating dealers, a $3,500 rebate for used EVs for income-qualifying residents, a $1,500 rebate adder for income-qualifying residents called MOR-EV+ that is in addition to the standard rebate for new or used electric vehicles; and increased rebates for certain light-duty pickup trucks.
“These initiatives tackle huge issues, like the convenience of charging for condo and apartment dwellers, the greening of Uber and Lyft, the task of keeping chargers in good working order, and the electrification of heavy-duty trucks. Ambitious stuff,” said **State Senator Mike Barrett (D-Lexington), Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy. **
"Investing in EV infrastructure could not be more critical at this juncture to address the range and charging anxiety that makes drivers hesitate when deciding whether to purchase an electric vehicle," said State Representative Jeffrey N. Roy (D-Franklin), House Chair of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy. "I thank the Administration for building on the Legislature's work in creating the charging infrastructure fund by developing targeted investments in curbside charging, fleet charging, medium- and heavy-duty mobile charging, and other innovation solutions to help Massachusetts drivers get into EVs."
Today, at the Massachusetts Municipal Association (MMA)’s Annual Meeting, Governor Maura Healey and Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll announced that they will be filing a significant package of municipal reforms to help cities and towns generate the resources they need to maintain and deliver vital services, streamline operations and attract talented workers to local government.
The Municipal Empowerment Act will expand on tools available to municipal leaders to generate revenue by allowing them to increase local option taxes on meals and lodging. The bill would also create a new local Motor Vehicle Excise surcharge option – a provision that could benefit every city and town in the state. The bill would also make permanent a number of popular COVID-era allowances for hybrid public meetings, outdoor dining permits and to-go cocktail sales.
“Massachusetts is home to 351 cities and towns that are the bedrock of our state. From day one, our administration has been committed to giving them the support and resources they need to build strong communities and grow their economies,” said Governor Healey. “The Municipal Empowerment Act proposes multiple reforms that municipal leaders have asked for to improve the services they can provide to their communities and make operations more efficient. We are also proud to be increasing funding for roads, bridges, schools, and municipal services to improve quality of life in all of our communities.”
“I’ve spent the past year traveling the state and meeting with municipal leaders to hear directly from them about how the state can best support their needs. What we heard loud and clear was a desire for partnership to improve municipal finances and operations,” said** Lieutenant Governor Driscoll**. “The Municipal Empowerment Act is a direct result of these conversations. This package reduces red tape that municipal leaders far too often encounter and gives them more options to utilize tools that will make their communities stronger.”
The bill is a product of the municipal listening tour led last year by Lieutenant Governor Driscoll and other members of the administration. They heard from over 130 managers and administrators from 112 different municipalities and solicited input from professional associations representing local leaders and employees – receiving feedback from more than 20 such groups. What emerged from these sessions were concrete suggestions for how the state can better partner with our cities and towns – from solutions to acute workforce challenges, to relief from specific administrative burdens, to new tools to make local management more efficient and effective.
Governor Healey also detailed some of the Local Aid support cities and towns can expect to see when she files her annual budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2025 next week. The administration’s Fiscal Year 2025 budget will recommend increasing Unrestricted General Government Aid by 3 percent to $1.31 billion. Consistent with Governor Healey’s State of the Commonwealth address on Wednesday night, the budget will also propose to fully fund the fourth year of the Student Opportunity Act, boosting Chapter 70 aid to local public schools to $6.86 billion, a $263 million or 4 percent increase over Fiscal Year 2024. Overall, Local Aid in the budget will total $8.7 billion, a 3 percent increase over the current fiscal year.
“The budget we will file next week will reflect this administration’s commitment to Local Aid and desire to keep our partnership with cities and towns at the forefront of so much we hope to accomplish,” said Secretary of Administration and Finance Matthew J. Gorzkowicz. “The funding we have identified for unrestricted aid and Chapter 70 for schools will complement the reforms proposed today in the Municipal Empowerment Act to make sure our communities remain vibrant, attractive places to live and work.”
The administration also plans to file a two-year, $400 million Chapter 90 bill alongside the Municipal Empowerment Act, proposing a multi-year authorization to help build in predictability for municipalities looking to plan longer-term projects. The annual Chapter 90 authorization would be supplemented by another $100 million for local road and bridge repairs through Fair Share surtax spending proposed in the Fiscal Year 2025 budget, and an additional $24 million dedicated to rural communities. Additionally, Lt. Governor Driscoll has directed MassDOT and the Executive Office for Administration and Finance to assemble a working group of state and local officials to review Chapter 90 administration and recommend ways to reduce the complexity and burdens of applying for and receiving these vital transportation funds.
“Whether you drive, bike, walk, or take public transit, transportation impacts every part of our lives. I want to thank Governor Healey, Lieutenant Governor Driscoll, and the legislature for supporting Chapter 90 funding,” said Transportation Secretary Monica Tibbits-Nutt. “This funding will help us to repair roads and bridges and make key capital improvements and investments across the state. I look forward to working with the Healey-Driscoll administration as we continue to deliver equitable, reliable, and resilient transportation options for all 351 of our cities and towns.”
The Municipal Empowerment Act is designed to arm local governments with greater tools and supports to chart their own course and make local management more efficient and effective.
Like state government, businesses and households across the state, municipalities have budgetary challenges that impact their ability to deliver services that residents depend on and expect. To empower communities to generate more local revenue, the bill includes several local options:
**Increasing the maximum local option lodging tax on hotel, motel and other rentals **from 6 percent to 7 percent of the price of a room (6.5 percent to 7.5 percent for Boston)
Increasing the maximum local option meals tax from .75 percent to 1 percent of the sales price of a meal at a restaurant or local store
Adding a new 5 percent local option Motor Vehicle Excise surcharge, a fee charged by every city and town on vehicles registered in their communities based on the vehicle’s value
Other highlights focused on fiscal and staffing stability include:
**Creating new property tax exemptions for seniors **to allow cities and towns to adopt a Senior Means Tested Property Tax Exemption for qualifying seniors and to increase existing senior property tax exemptions.
Addressing long-term benefit funding pressures by establishing a new OPEB Commission to take a fresh look at opportunities to address unfunded liabilities from non-pension employee benefits.
Allowing the creation of Regional Boards of Assessors to allow municipalities to create streamline duties and reduce significant staffing challenges.
**Creating additional flexibilities in post-retirement employment **by expanding the process for seeking exemptions to post-retirement employment rules.
The flexibility for municipalities that began during the COVID-19 public health emergency to permit outdoor dining and takeaway liquor sales, as well as hosting hybrid public meetings to encourage remote participation, would also be made permanent by this legislation.
Additional reforms proposed in the Municipal Empowerment Act include:
Clarifying that groups of cities and towns can award multiple contracts through an RFP process under Chapter 30B and purchase both supplies and services from collectively bid contracts;
Equalizing 30B thresholds for advertised procurements to $100 k for all municipal purchasing – not just schools;
Eliminating the requirement to publish notice of invitations for competitive bids on COMMBUYS;
Streamlining procurement for electric school buses and charging infrastructure by allowing single procurements for both under Chapter 30B.
**Enforcement of double pole removal **after 90 days by giving municipalities enforcement authority, with penalties for utilities that fail to comply.
Establishing central valuation of telecom and utility property through the Department of Revenue’s Division of Local Services (DLS) to relieve cities and towns of the cost of individually hiring experts and consultants.
Updating borrowing rules for school projects to increase from 30 years to 40 years the bond term to more closely reflects the life expectancy of the project.
The Governor intends to file the Municipal Empower Act and Ch. 90 bill on Monday. The full bill texts will be available at that time. More details on the provisions of the Municipal Empowerment Act can be found in the policy briefs on **Fiscal & Staffing Stability, Local Flexibility and Operational Efficiency, Rural Supports and FY25 Local Aid. **
**Statements of Support **
**Adam Chapdelaine, Executive Director & CEO, Massachusetts Municipal Association (MMA) **
“The MMA is deeply grateful to the Healey-Driscoll Administration for this robust proposal, which would benefit each and every one of our Commonwealth’s 351 cities and towns. The Municipal Empowerment Act includes strong recommendations based on input from local officials, with a focus on supporting our communities, modernizing practices, and improving efficiency in the delivery of essential services provided by our cities and towns.”
**Easthampton Mayor Nicole LaChapelle, incoming President of Massachusetts Mayors Association **
“Municipal government is entirely unique in that the work we do has a direct and immediate impact on the lives of our residents. We must be nimble and flexible, but most importantly, we must be efficient because municipal budgets are small and tight. The efforts here by the Healey-Driscoll Administration help us enhance and balance the needs of our residents and the changing financial landscape municipalities experience. I want to thank Governor Healey and Lieutenant Governor Driscoll for their commitment to supporting cities and towns in every corner of the Commonwealth.”
**Michael Ward, Director of the Edward J. Collins, Jr. Center for Public Management University of Massachusetts Boston **
“This bill contains many great improvements and fixes to help municipalities operate more efficiently and effectively. In particular, the improvements to procurement and financial processes will reduce burdens on managers and finance officials, freeing up significant time and energy to focus on other critical issues. We are also thrilled to be able to assist the Administration with its new workforce development initiatives, given the overwhelming recruitment and retention problems facing local governments across the Commonwealth.”
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) is pleased to announce approximately 20 miles of shared use paths opened in 2023 for the first time, expanding multimodal connectivity and opportunities for recreation across Massachusetts while enhancing pedestrian and cyclist safety. Throughout the course of 2023, MassDOT completed dozens of roadway projects that added new bike lanes, sidewalks, shared use paths, and crosswalks. Additionally, MassDOT continued to support improvements in school zones and the expansion of shared paths and trails through programs like Safe Routes to School, Shared Streets and Spaces, Complete Streets, and MassTrails, which have all helped to prioritize investments in municipalities to create safer, multimodal travel.
“I want to commend our dedicated teams at MassDOT for the progress they made over the course of 2023 to give our communities more miles of multimodal connectivity,” said Transportation Secretary and CEO Monica Tibbits-Nutt. “These projects are designed to make our transportation network safer, more practical and more inclusive for all users. We have many achievements to be proud of – and great momentum for 2024.”
“When we expand and enhance our inventory of multimodal paths, we are not just removing barriers to biking and walking, but setting the foundations for healthier, safer, more prosperous communities,” said Peter Sutton, Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator at MassDOT. “This success was possible thanks to our team’s great dedication, as well as the invaluable collaboration of the community leaders and advocates who continue to work with us on behalf of those who rely on our transportation systems.”
The 20 miles of shared paths that opened in 2023 was the result of completed projects, either constructed by MassDOT or jointly funded through the MassTrails program, along 14 different trails across Massachusetts. Some notable projects include the following:
In addition to the three projects highlighted above, there were 11 more projects completed in 2023 along the trails listed below, for a total of 14 projects that added 20 miles of shared paths in different communities:
In May of last year, the MassTrails Team officially launched its Priority Trails Network map. By the end of 2024, 25 additional miles of shared paths are expected to open across the state, further expanding multimodal connectivity.
Through the Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Program, MassDOT continues to support safe biking and walking for elementary and middle school students, awarding in 2023 five SRTS Signs and Lines grants, which provide design services and up to $10,000 in construction funding to each selected community, for roadway signage and pavement markings on key walking and bicycling routes near public elementary and middle schools. The program currently serves more than 1,140 schools in 281 communities across Massachusetts where projects have been funded. The application period for this year’s round of funding closed on October 6, and awards are expected to be made in early 2024. In addition to these infrastructure activities, the SRTS Program in 2023 continued to reach thousands of students across Massachusetts through 398 bicycle and pedestrian safety trainings, 149 arrival/dismissal observations, 62 detailed walk assessments, and the creation of 162 maps to assist schools in developing walking, biking, and rolling routes to school.
Through the Shared Streets and Spaces Funding Program, MassDOT continues to provide technical and funding assistance to help Massachusetts cities and towns conceive, design and implement tactical changes to curbs, streets, on-street parking spaces and off-street parking lots. Such improvements have shown to have a positive impact on public health, safe mobility and renewed commerce. To date, the program has awarded $50 million to support 494 projects in 183 municipalities across Massachusetts. This year’s round of funding, which closed on October 31, is currently being scored with 80 projects submitted statewide.
Through the Complete Streets Funding Program, MassDOT continues to support safe, convenient, and comfortable travel for users of all ages and abilities regardless of their mode of transportation. In 2023, MassDOT distributed a total of $15.95 million in awards to 36 municipalities. Grant awards from this program are used by recipient municipalities to fund local multimodal infrastructure projects that improve travel for bicyclists, pedestrians, public transit users, and individuals using other forms of transportation. Examples of project elements that can be implemented through the program include sidewalks, multimodal paths, bicycle lanes, improved street lighting, and pedestrian signalization at crosswalks or intersections.
The MassTrails Team consists of MassDOT, the Department of Conservation and Recreation and the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. Continuing efforts to support the state’s growing network of trails, in 2023 the Healey-Driscoll Administration announced $11 million in its fifth annual round of MassTrails Grants to 68 projects across Massachusetts. The grants provide assistance for the construction, maintenance and improvements for a variety of public trails throughout the state trails system, such as hiking trails, bikeways and shared-use paths.