Section 63: MassWorks infrastructure program; public infrastructure grants issued to municipalities
Section 63. (a) There shall be in the executive office of housing and economic development a MassWorks infrastructure program: (i) to issue public infrastructure grants to municipalities and other public instrumentalities for design, construction, building, land acquisition, rehabilitation, repair and other improvements to publicly-owned infrastructure including, but not limited to, sewers, utility extensions, streets, roads, curb-cuts, parking, water treatment systems, telecommunications systems, transit improvements, public parks and spaces within urban renewal districts and pedestrian and bicycle ways; (ii) for commercial and residential transportation and infrastructure development, improvements and various capital investment projects under the growth districts initiative administered by the executive office of housing and economic development; (iii) to assist municipalities to advance projects that support job creation and expansion, housing development and rehabilitation, community development projects, and small town transportation projects authorized under subsection (e); provided, however, that projects supporting smart growth as defined by the commonwealth's sustainable development principles shall be preferred; or (iv) to match other public and private funding sources to build or rehabilitate transit-oriented housing located within.5 miles of a commuter rail station, subway station, ferry terminal or bus station, at least 25 per cent of which shall be affordable.
(b) Eligible public infrastructure projects authorized by clause (i) of subsection (a) shall be located on public land or on public leasehold, right-of-way or easement. A project that uses grants to municipalities for public infrastructure provided by this section shall be procured by a municipality in accordance with chapter 7, section 39M of chapter 30, chapter 30B and chapter 149.
(c) There shall be at least 1 open solicitation period each year to accept and consider new applications. Not less than 12 weeks before the annual open solicitation period, the executive office of housing and economic development shall release the criteria upon which the applications shall be judged including, but not limited to, a minimum project readiness standard, overall spending targets by project type, preferences for projects that align with the state's sustainable development principles, and other preferences applying to that funding round. Grants may be made outside of the open solicitation period at the discretion of the secretary of housing and economic development subject to subsections (d) and (e). All grant awards shall be made only after consultation with the appropriate regional planning agency.
(d) An eligible city or town, acting by and through its municipal officers or by and through any agency designated by such municipal officers to act on their behalf, may apply to the program for a grant in a specific amount to fund a specified project. Two or more municipalities may apply jointly, with 1 municipality acting as fiscal agent, or through a regional planning agency acting as fiscal agent. The grants may be made in addition to other forms of local, state, and federal assistance.
(e) Within the program, at least 10 per cent of the grant funds shall be dedicated annually to assist towns with populations of 7,000 or less in undertaking projects to design, construct, reconstruct, widen, resurface, rehabilitate, and otherwise improve roads and bridges or for the construction of chemical storage facilities, that support economic or community development. Such towns shall be eligible for a grant not to exceed $1,000,000, and towns shall be eligible to receive 1 grant every 3 fiscal years. Two or more towns eligible under this subsection may file a joint application for a single project serving those towns; provided, however, the total amount distributed to any 1 town shall not exceed the maximum amount allowed under this section. Receipt of a grant which is part of a joint application shall not preclude a town from receiving additional funds under a separate application.
(f) The secretary of housing and economic development may establish rules and regulations to govern the application and distribution of grants under the program. The rules and regulations may include provisions for joint applications by 2 or more eligible towns for a single project serving those towns.
(g) The secretary of housing and economic development shall report annually to the clerks of the house of representatives and the senate, who shall forward the report to the houses of representatives and the senate, the chairs of the joint committee on transportation, the chairs of the joint committee on economic development and emerging technologies, the chairs of the senate and house committees on ways and means, and the chairs of the joint committees on state administration and regulatory oversight on the activities and status of the program. The report shall include a list and description of all projects that received grant funds under the program, the amount of the grant awarded to the project, other sources of public funds that supported the project, a detailed analysis of the economic impact of each project including, where applicable, the number of construction and full time equivalent jobs to be created, number of housing units to be created, the private investment in the project and the expected tax revenue generated from the project.