BOSTON — A sweeping economic development bill (H.4732), passed by the Massachusetts Legislature in July, was signed by Governor Baker earlier this month. The Legislation boosts support for Massachusetts startup businesses and entrepreneurs, and authorizes targeted investments in infrastructure and worker retraining.
The bill authorizes $75 million in competitive grants for technical education and workforce training programs and $200 million in bonds for the MassWorks Infrastructure Program that will support thousands of jobs in economic development and community revitalization projects.
The technical education grants will provide funding for new lab equipment in classrooms across the state, allowing for new programs in robotics and other high-tech vocational fields. The bill also invests in the state’s cultural economy, promoting the arts and tourism industries.
"I am proud of the Senate's commitment to nurturing our economy. With this legislation, Massachusetts is taking steps to maintain our economic strength, encourage innovation and entrepreneurship, and allow for more people to participate in and benefit from our dynamic economy,” said Senate President Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland).
"This bill is not just about the growth of our economy, but about the livelihood of our residents and the strength of our communities. It supports programs like MassWorks to fund local development, Workforce Skills Capital Grants for vocational training, and the Seaport Economic Council to help coastal communities invest in a strong maritime economy. I am proud to support it,” said Sen. John F. Keenan (D-Quincy), who serves as the Chair of the Senate Committee on Bonding.
“For Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, when it comes to economic development, I will always strongly support funding programs, projects and infrastructure investments that will help our seasonal economy – including tourism, cultural attractions and protecting our beautiful natural resources – this has been the bread and butter of our economic engine for generations,” said State Senator Julian Cyr (D-Truro). “But we also need to keep investing in programs and infrastructure that will attract businesses and jobs to build a sustainable year-round economy – as that balance is the key to building a better future for our region for years to come.”
The Senate’s bill allowed State Senators to offer amendments that could address specific issues for their districts. Senator Cyr requested and received $12 million in local funding for Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. Senator Cyr’s local priorities represent investment in jobs, infrastructure, tourism, small businesses and non-profits, which are all segments of his district that promote economic development for the seasonal and year-round economy of Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. All of Senator Cyr’s local funding priorities made it into the bill signed by Governor Baker.
Senator Cyr Secures $12 Million in Local Priorities for Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket:
Amendment #161.1 - Aviation Job Training at Cape Cod Community College (Town of Barnstable)
This amendment would expend $100,000 to support Cape Cod Community College’s FAA-Certified Airframe and Powerplant Program. In 2012, Cape Cod Community College recognized the critical role that community colleges are to play in developing the workforce needed by regional employers, and worked with federal, state, local, and industry officials to develop a program that not only addresses a shortage of certified aircraft mechanics, but one that creates a pathway for a career with significant potential for advancement.
Amendment #166 – Oceanside Performing Arts Center (Town of Barnstable) - Would designate $200,000 to be used for the planning and design of Oceanside Performing Arts Center in the Town of Barnstable. Oceanside Performing Arts Center would be a regional facility to serve Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard, and Nantucket, which would stimulate economic development and promote tourism.
Amendment #169 – Mashpee Watershed Management (Town of Mashpee) The $3,250,000 in requested funds would be used to design, engineer and construct a wastewater discharge force main and related disposal site. Placement of a new wastewater discharge force main would protect the Waquoit Bay and Popponesset Bay watersheds and support reasonable economic development in the Town of Mashpee's central business district.
The upgraded sewer line and disposal beds would allow the transfer of wastewater from the treatment plant at Mashpee Commons to the southern portion of town, where a groundwater discharge will not impact either bay. The new infrastructure will enable the Town will enable compact, efficient development in the area without impacting sensitive systems that residents depend on for a water supply.
Amendment #174 – Small Business Development (Towns of Wellfleet and Provincetown)
Would designate $1,175,000 for small business, local cultural and economic development.
Amendment #177 – Dredging (Towns of Cotuit, Edgartown, Chatham, and Yarmouth) The 3,375,000 in requested bond authorizations would fund four dredging projects:
Amendment #251 - Mortgage Licensing Exemptions for Certain Nonprofits (Statewide)
Amendment #260 – High Speed Internet Access (Towns of Barnstable and Provincetown)
Would designate $600,000 for high speed internet access on Cape Cod.
Amendment #306 – Nantucket Pier & Float Repair and Cultural Center Study (Town of Nantucket)
Amendment #307 – Visitor Centers (Towns of Gosnold, Oak Bluffs, and Barnstable) $1,800,000 would be expended in the following way for visitor centers:
With the passage of the Economic Development Bill, the Environmental Bond Bill, and the State Capital Bonding Bill, Senator Cyr was able to deliver over $71 million in critical local funding for his district this session. Cyr’s office will now work with municipalities across the Cape and Islands to help them advocate for a quick release of funds by the Baker-Polito administration.