The Massachusetts Department of Transportation, in conjunction with the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, shall convene a working group to identify and evaluate the safe, efficient and environmentally sound maintenance and improvement of unpaved (dirt and gravel) roads and paved low volume roads (LVR) in the Commonwealth.
The working group shall, at a minimum: develop a database of both unpaved roads and paved LVRs; analyze the unpaved road miles and paved LVR miles per municipality and county in relation to other road miles in the same municipality and county; collect data on the annual maintenance and improvement costs for unpaved roads and paved LVR over the previous five years for each municipality located in a county whose unpaved road miles total over 20% of total county roadway mileage; examine the potential relationship between climate change and maintenance and improvement costs for unpaved roads and paved LVRs; identify existing funding streams in Massachusetts available to municipalities to maintain and improve unpaved roads and paved LVRs; identify potential funding gaps to support the safe, efficient and environmentally sound maintenance and improvement of unpaved and paved LVRs in the Commonwealth; compile and review existing studies and reports on unpaved roads and paved LVRs in the Commonwealth; determine the feasibility of developing a condition rating system for unpaved roads and paved LVRs; determine the feasibility of developing statewide standards for unpaved roads; research national best practices on the safe, efficient and environmentally sound maintenance and improvement for unpaved roads and paved LVRs including existing state-funded maintenance programs.
The working group shall include, but shall not be limited to: the secretary of transportation or a designee, who shall serve as co-chair; the secretary of energy and environmental affairs or a designee, who shall serve as co-chair; the commissioner of revenue or a designee; the secretary of public safety and security or a designee; a designee of the rural policy advisory commission; two designees of the Massachusetts Highway Association; a designee of the Massachusetts Municipal Association, Inc.; a transportation planner from a MA Transportation Planning Organization; a designee of the University of Massachusetts Amherst Transportation Center; and a designee of the Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions, Inc. The working group shall hold its first meeting not later than January 1, 2024.
The working group shall submit its findings to the clerks of the house of representatives and the senate, the chairs of the house and senate committees on ways and means, the chairs of the joint committee on environment, natural resources and agriculture and the chairs of the joint committee on transportation not later than June 30, 2024.
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