BOSTON — Gov. Charlie Baker wants to pour up to $2.43 billion over the next five years into infrastructure projects tied to transportation, housing and climate change resiliency.
A capital investment plan unveiled late last week calls for hundreds of millions of dollars for programs such as accelerated bridge repairs, upgrades to the state highway system, resurfacing non-interstate highways, bike lanes and pedestrian safety enhancements.
“This is a responsible plan that will meet many of the commonwealth’s most significant needs, including reliable transportation and increasing housing production, while supporting local communities, promoting economic development opportunities, and protecting infrastructure from the impact of a changing climate,” Baker said in a statement.
The capital spending plan, which doesn’t require legislative approval, is considered a road map for projects the Baker administration wants to build using borrowed money. Baker, a second-term Republican, proposes a 3.8% increase in the bond cap — the amount of money the state can borrow — to $2.43 billion in fiscal 2020.
The plan earmarks funding for nearly two-dozen grant programs that help cities and towns upgrade local infrastructure, build affordable housing and create jobs. That includes $100 million for MassWorks, a grant that helps cities and towns upgrade their infrastructure.
Another $10 million will go to Municipal American Disabilities Act Grant, which seeks to improve accessibility. It would divert $60 million to cities and towns for climate change adaptation and resiliency projects, including $12 million for seawall repairs and $4.2 million for dam rehabilitation.
If lawmakers approve a Baker proposal to increase fees on real estate deed transfers — which is covered by a separate bill — the capital projects plan would get another $75 million, according to the administration.
Baker’s also wants to provide $2.5 million for entities such as the Essex County Sheriff’s Office to help pay for facility upgrades at the Middleton jail. Lynn will be getting $5 million for waterfront renovations, while Halibut Point State Park in Rockport will get $1 million for the design and rehabilitation of a visitors center.
The state is facing a long list of big-ticket needs. A recent report said Massachusetts must drum up another $1 billion a year in the next decade to maintain and upgrade its deteriorating roads and bridges.
Meanwhile, the MBTA’s system of commuter trains, subway cars and buses has a repair backlog totaling more than $10 billion.
Baker has diverted more than $1.1 billion to cities and towns to fix potholes and crumbly roads since taking office in 2014, according to the administration.
On Friday, he signed a bond bill that will provide $1.9 billion over the next year for transportation upgrades.
That includes $200 million in Chapter 90 funding for cities and towns. Funds for that program come from the state’s gas tax, which increased to 24 cents per gallon in 2013 and generates $50 million to $60 million a month, according to the Department of Revenue. Communities get a slice of that based on population and the miles of roads they maintain.
In the current budget year, Haverhill received more than $1.5 million in Chapter 90 funds, while Lawrence got about $1.3 million, according to the state Department of Transportation. Gloucester got $664,341, Salem got $853,262, and Newburyport $517,057.
Transit advocates say Beacon Hill needs to find new and larger sources of revenue to meet the state’s transportation needs.
On Wednesday, lawmakers are expected to take the first steps toward putting a “millionaires’ tax” question on the 2020 ballot. The plan, if approved by voters, would impose a 4% surtax on individual annual income over $1 million, which advocates say would drum up an estimated $2 billion a year for education and transportation needs.
The proposal, backed by labor and social justice groups, nearly made it to the ballot last year before the state’s Supreme Judicial Court ruled it unconstitutional.
This time, however, supporters are using a different process to amend the constitution which they argue will pass constitutional muster.
Christian M. Wade covers the Massachusetts Statehouse for North of Boston Media Group’s newspapers and websites. Email him at email@example.com