BOSTON - The Massachusetts Legislature today to enact a $12.766 billion transportation finance bill to bolster the state's transportation systems, improve existing infrastructure and assist Massachusetts' communities in funding local projects.

The bond bill authorizes $300 million in Chapter 90 funding to help municipalities complete road, bridge and infrastructure improvement projects, and requires earlier notification of funding levels so cities and towns can prepare appropriately. This marks the eighth consecutive year that the Legislature has either raised or level-funded Chapter 90.

The legislation will improve and modernize the state's infrastructure system through projects including:

* $2.97 billion for state-wide non-federally aided road and bridge projects;

* $1.9 billion for interstate/non-interstate federal highways;

* $125 million for the Department of Conservation and Recreation for repairs, improvements, construction of parkways and related equipment;

* $24 million for the mobility assistance program and regional intercity bus and intermodal services;

* $350 million in investments for Regional Transit Authority improvements as well as other state-wide enhancements to rail service and new regional transit authority facilities.

* $2 million for the North-South Rail Link;

* $2.5 billion for MBTA rail improvements including new Red and Orange Line cars, $1.


33 billion to extend the Green Line;

* $80 million for the statewide rail access program;

* $325 million for an expansion of South Station, to be re-named the Governor Michael S. Dukakis Transportation Center at South Station;

* $2.3 billion for South Coast rail improvements, creating a South Coast rail mitigation program to assist communities impacted by the South Coast rail project;

* $50 million to support a complete streets certification program to encourage cities and towns to implement design elements and infrastructure to accommodate users of all transportation modes, including walking, cycling and public transportation;

* $63 million for Registry of Motor Vehicles modernization and improvements;

* Doubling the penalty for MBTA fare evasion; and,

* Requiring Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) to make its annual report available online.

The bill includes numerous provisions designed to result in savings and efficiency improvements including the creation of a special Commission to study metropolitan planning organizations and advise on potential ways to simplify and streamline the federally-mandated project selection process.

The bill now goes to the governor for his consideration.