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Mike is the sole Massachusetts member on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. In that capacity, he worked during the most recent authorization to protect Massachusetts’ interests. In December of 2015, H.R. 22: Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act was signed into law. It authorizes over $5 billion in transportation funding for Massachusetts over 5 years. This represents an almost 10% increase over current funding levels.
In 2012, Mike’s legislation establishing a nationwide tunnel inspection program became law. When a Big Dig tunnel collapsed, tragically killing a woman, Mike called in the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to investigate. Their involvement helped cut through red tape and brought all parties to the table. At the time, Mike discovered that other federal aid tunnels were not subject to any national inspection standards so he filed legislation to address this shortcoming.
When the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) was threatening the creation of a planned Assembly Square T stop by measuring it against standards that did not make sense for an infill station on existing track, Mike fought for a common sense exemption for the project. The Assembly Square project, which was vital for economic development and job creation in the area, proceeded under a special exempt category granted by the FTA for projects using less than $25 million in federal funds. The new Orange Line T stop is now open for use.
Mike has been advocating for the Green Line Extension (GLX) since he was mayor of Somerville. As a Member of Congress he was instrumental in obtaining federal funding for the project. In 2015 the GLX was granted close to $1 billion in New Starts federal funding. He will keep working to advance this long promised transit project until the new stations are open for travelers.
In the spring of 2012 Mike celebrated the opening of the Chelsea Street Bridge. Long declared a hazard to navigation by the United States Coast Guard, the old Chelsea Street Bridge had only inches to spare between oil tankers and the bridge abutments when vessels passed through. To make matters worse, the bridge was frequently closed to vehicular traffic due to mechanical problems. Mike directed federal funding to jumpstart the construction process and worked closely with public and private agencies to ensure that the shipping channel would also be widened so oil tankers could continue to pass through.
Mike worked successfully to have the Boston Harbor dredging project included in the Water Resources and Reform Development Act (WRDDA), which passed in May of 2014. Upon completion, this massive five year project will result in deeper and wider shipping channels in Boston Harbor to allow large beam, post Panamax vessels to call on the port. As directed by WRDDA, the Army Corps of Engineers, which estimates the project will result in $2.7B of increased economic activity, will pay for two-thirds of the $310M project.
Mike has also directed federal funding to numerous local transportation initiatives. Some of these include money to improve pedestrian and bike safety on Commonwealth Avenue, funding to improve Melnea Cass Boulevard and funds for Rutherford Avenue and Sullivan Square work.