Baker administration proposes to spend $ 1 billion in federal ARPA money to combat the impact of climate change
Baker administration proposes to spend $ 1 billion in federal COVID-19 relief funds to shore up critical infrastructure across the state in anticipation of extreme weather events caused by climate change, officials from the Executive Office of Energy Affairs say and environmental.
At a meeting for the press, agency officials said they were looking to move quickly to launch a variety of near-ready projects across the state to improve water supply systems and d sewer, repair dams and culverts, expand parks and green spaces and reinvest in seaports in coastal towns.
“The administration believes this funding has enormous potential to fund critical and urgent priorities in towns and cities across the Commonwealth of Nations,” an official said. “We believe these priorities cannot wait.
The money would represent a share of the $ 5.3 billion in federal funding for Massachusetts under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, or ARPA.
The session took place on the condition that those responsible for the agency were not identified.
The spending plan is expected to be approved by the state legislature and presented to the governor as a bill for authorization. Officials said they hope the process will begin as soon as possible.
Gov. Charlie Baker has already proposed spending $ 2.9 billion from ARPA on housing and homeownership programs, skills training and workforce development, and economic development of towns and villages.
The $ 1 billion for environmental projects would come from this $ 2.9 billion reserve.
One of the drivers of spending is the growing impact of climate change and the need to adapt facilities and structures to it.
“We have seen the impacts of climate change materialize in very drastic ways,” said one official.
This is the first recorded summer where there were two significant waves in the first week of July, officials said. Additionally, the northeast is drenched by rains from Tropical Storm Elsa, which occurs earlier than the typical Atlantic hurricane season.
“Every year we see new impacts of climate change. And every year, these losses will continue and increase, ”said one official.
The plan discussed at a remote press hearing on Friday calls for spending:
- $ 400 million to upgrade water and sewer infrastructure statewide, especially in urban areas with aging lines. Examples cited included separating sewer and storm water lines in the Merrimack Valley, improving the wastewater collection system in Wareham and New Bedford, and addressing the sanitation issues of PFAS and d water supply to Littleton, Dudley, Mansfield and Barnstable.
- $ 300 million for climate resilient infrastructure, such as removing dams in Marlborough and Kingston, improving drainage culverts statewide, and planting more shade trees in urban areas .
- $ 100 million to improve facilities and increase access to parks, recreation and open spaces statewide, especially in urban areas. During the pandemic, use of state parks and recreation facilities has increased dramatically, and officials expect that demand to continue. Money is also planned to improve coastal and inland fishing areas, and to improve water quality in lakes and ponds.
- $ 100 million for the development of port infrastructure in coastal communities like New Bedford, Salem and Somerset. The money would rehabilitate and expand port facilities to support the eventual growth of the offshore wind industry, which is part of the Net Zero climate action legislation that calls for increased sources of solar, wind power. and renewable by 2050.