The Baker-Polito Administration and Massachusetts Department of Transportation today announced a $12.5 million Complete Streets Funding Program and online program portal in an effort to encourage cities and towns in the Commonwealth to design and construct projects to make street networks safer and more efficient for pedestrians, cyclists, drivers, and users of mass transit.
The new Complete Streets effort follows a robust, year-long stakeholder engagement process to gather feedback from municipal representatives, advocates and state agency representatives and focuses one-third of the funding on municipalities below the state median household income level.
“We are proud to offer communities this opportunity to improve the accessibility of neighborhoods, retail areas, and city and town centers, making them more accommodating to people of all ages regardless of their method of transportation,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Complete Streets designs encourage more environmentally friendly ways of travel, support safe pathways for commuters and the traveling public, and allow each community to approach their own unique and specific needs.”
A Complete Street is one that provides safe and accessible options for all travel modes – walking, biking, transit and vehicles – for people of all ages and abilities. The Complete Streets Funding Program includes three primary requirements that deem a municipality eligible for up to $50,000 for technical assistance, and up to $400,000 for construction funding with additional consideration in the qualification process for Community Compact communities.
“We are excited to launch the Complete Streets Funding Program to support municipalities and strengthen local transportation networks,” said Lieutenant Governor Polito. “Through Complete Streets and the Community Compact program, we are committed to continuing our local partnerships and investing in transportation improvements for our cities and towns.”
“It is wonderful that we can help with providing resources to continue encouraging safe, healthy, and sustainable transportation for cities and towns throughout the state,” said MassDOT Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack. “Authorized by the 2014 Transportation Bond Bill, the objective of this program is to provide an incentive for municipalities to adopt Complete Streets Policies and best practices, and the funding program is a key component in making the program a success.”
Program requirements are attendance of a municipal employee at a Complete Streets training, passage of a Complete Streets Policy that scores 80 or above out of a possible 100 points (Tier 1), and the development of a Complete Streets Prioritization Plan (Tier 2). MassDOT has developed a Complete Streets Prioritization Plan template, and provides technical assistance funding for municipalities to conduct a needs assessment, network gap analysis and/or safety audit to determine a targeted investment strategy for Complete Streets infrastructure. Upon completion of these requirements, a municipality is eligible for construction funds (Tier 3). Reimbursement for technical assistance and project funding will be managed by the appropriate Highway District Local Aid Office.MassDOT is currently accepting Tier 1 applications.
Online Portal and Program Guidance and Training
MassDOT has developed a full Complete Streets Funding Program Guidance document that explains the program requirements, model policy guidance and scoring system, and eligible infrastructure. A two way interactive online portal has been developed to guide and assist municipalities through the Policy Development, Prioritization Plan and Project Approval Tiers of the program. Please visit the Complete Streets website to register and begin the process of becoming a Complete Streets Eligible municipality.
MassDOT provides statewide Complete Streets 101 training sessions through the BayState Roads Program that include basic design concepts and an overview of the Complete Streets Funding Program requirements. To date, over a third (130) of the Commonwealth’s municipalities and six regional planning agency representatives have attended training. Seventeen additional classes are scheduled with more being added continually. To register for a session, please visit Baystate Roads’ website.
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