The success of the state Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) program has made clear that Massachusetts cities and towns are eager to be proactive about planning for climate change impacts. Planning for these impacts also reduces the long-term costs of climate-related risks and protects property values. With 71% of Massachusetts municipalities enrolled in the program’s first three years, additional funding is now needed to help meet demand for planning and action grants.
Governor Baker’s bill, An Act Providing for Climate Change Adaptation Infrastructure Investments in the Commonwealth (S.10), would:
- Establish a new, sustainable source of revenue for cities and towns to fund resilient infrastructure and nature-based solutions to climate impacts
- Build upon the MVP program to meet its increased demand
- Increase the state’s deeds excise from $2.28 to $3.42 for every $500 of a property sale. This would allow approximately $137 million annually to be invested in climate change adaptation and resiliency projects throughout Massachusetts to protect public health, safety, and property
- Deposit funds into a Global Warming Solutions Trust fund to provide loans, grants, and technical assistance to cities and towns for their priority adaptation projects
- Allow funds to be spent across fiscal years, lending flexibility to support larger, more complex projects
Speaker DeLeo’s “Greenworks” bill (H.3846) would:
- Establish a GreenWorks resiliency program for Massachusetts cities and towns, which would include grants for public infrastructure improvements, renewable energy production and storage, and MVP-related adaptation projects
- Develop a matching grant program to support and provide technical assistance for cities and towns to develop municipal microgrid clean energy systems
- Develop a grant programs to encourage electrification of vehicle fleets owned by municipalities or regional transit authorities
- Establish a grant program to allow municipalities to hire sustainability coordinators
- Establish a Green Resiliency Fund to provide loans to municipalities for resiliency improvements and investments
- Provide this funding, which would total about $1.3 billion, through the sale of specially-designated bonds
Mass Audubon submitted testimony in support of each bill, both independently and with partners like our Climate Change Adaptation Coalition and the Massachusetts Rivers Alliance. You can also read testimony on S.10 from Governor Baker and EEA Secretary Theoharides.
You can help too!
If your state representative or senator is a member of the Joint Committee on Revenue, contact them and urge them to report S.10 favorably out of committee, so it can continue its path toward being signed into law.
If they are a member of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy, contact them and urge them to report H.3846 favorably out of committee.
Even if your legislator isn’t on either Committee, you can ask them to contact Committee members in favor of these bills. Let them know that as the impacts of climate change continue to become more severe, it’s crucial that Massachusetts cities and towns are as prepared as possible. These bills would help make sure that happens by setting aside steady income streams to fund community resiliency projects.