The Legislature passed one year of Chapter 90 funding at $300 million, a 50 percent increase from last year, and local officials heaped criticism on the administration after Patrick signed the bill but only released half the funding, later adding another $50 million to bring the Chapter 90 back up to $200 million.
The delays widely affected funding and a number of street and sidewalk projects, including in Gloucester, which had been expecting just over $1 million at the start of the construction season and instead initially received just half of that.
Transportation bond bills have typically attracted project earmarks during the drafting process and once they hit the floor for a vote. The bill that cleared the Transportation Committee Wednesday already includes $182.1 million in earmarks for House and Senate members, according to a summary.
A committee aide said 15 members voted in favor of the bill, three voted against it, and two reserved their rights. If passed, the governor’s office — Massachusetts voters are scheduled to elect Gov. Deval Patrick’s successor next November — would have the onus to decide whether to fund the various spending items.
An extension of the Silver Line to Chelsea is not specifically funded in the bill, nor is funding for a Springfield Viaduct, according to Straus, who said some proposed earmarks were excluded from the bill itself but could be added when the bill hits the floors of the House and Senate. He said the bill would move through the House Committee on Bonding, Capital Expenditures and State Assets and Ways and Means before hitting the House floor.
Several of the projects are at different levels of completion. The train lines from Pittsfield to New York and Worcester to Springfield “still need quite a lot of design,” while the rail to the Cape is already in place and in need of track upgrades.