BOSTON – Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced $2.78 billion in capital investments over the next five years. The $2.78 billion FY20-24 Capital Plan is how the City makes critical investments in the City’s capital assets, including schools, roads, bridges, bike lanes, libraries, and more.
This year’s plan includes renewed public housing in Charlestown, revitalized parks in Dorchester, transportation improvements in Allston-Brighton, school improvements across the city, and fulfills Mayor Walsh’s commitment to dedicating over 10 percent of new city funding toward climate resilient projects. This plan ensures the municipal, civic and open space assets that residents cherish in their neighborhoods will remain active and vibrant parts of the community for years to come.
“This budget makes historic investments in public assets like schools, roads, bridges, parks, and libraries,” said Mayor Walsh. “This is a budget with a big heart. It reflects our best values: our belief that every single person is worthy of dignity and hope and opportunity. It’s going to improve quality of life in all our neighborhoods, and it will continue to generate opportunities for our residents for generations to come. I thank each and every person who helped to guide this vision through Imagine Boston 2030 that has led to these important investments.”
Mayor Walsh’s $2.78 billion FY20-24 Capital Plan will make critical investments in the City’s infrastructure in every Boston neighborhood, guided by Imagine Boston 2030 and related plans for schools, streets, arts, climate and resilience.
This year, under the Imagine Boston 2030 umbrella, an estimated 86 percent of the investments in the FY20-24 Capital Plan are aligned with the City-wide planning efforts. More than 14,000 residents have shaped Imagine Boston 2030 by setting goals for the city by 2030, and generating ideas about policies and investments to help achieve these goals. Together, these initiatives support Boston’s dynamic economy and improve the quality of life for residents by encouraging affordability, increasing access to opportunity, promoting a healthy environment, and guiding investment in the public realm.
Highlights from Boston’s FY20-24 Capital Plan include:
- Boston, in collaboration with State and Federal partners, will invest $1.15 billion implementing the core initiatives outlined in Go Boston 2030: streets that are safer for all users of City roads and sidewalks, particularly pedestrians and cyclists; travel that is more reliable and predictable; and quality transportation choices that improve access to interconnect neighborhoods for all modes of travel.
- Through the use of Winthrop Square proceeds, City capital dollars, and leveraging external funds, Mayor Walsh plans to carry out early actions to implement Imagine Boston 2030’s Open Space goals, including investing in Franklin Park as a flagship park, completing the Emerald Necklace, reimagining Moakley Park and restoring the Boston Common to its full vibrancy.
- Boston will prepare for climate change by investing over 10 percent of new City capital dollars in projects that promote climate resilience. Climate action planning will continue along with the implementation of flood protection solutions identified by the Climate Ready Boston initiative.
- In partnership with the Boston Housing Authority, the City will make new investments in public infrastructure, supporting the creation and preservation of affordable housing, including a $30 million investment to revitalize Boston Housing Authority’s deeply affordable public housing. This investment is the first time in the City’s history that City bond dollars have been invested directly into a BHA project.
- Boston will utilize Long Island as a key component in providing recovery services. To support that goal, the City will move forward with the construction of a new bridge to Long Island and plan for a recovery campus to be offered on the Island.
Mayor Walsh has committed $1 billion over 10 years to bring Boston’s school buildings into the 21st century. This capital plan supports that investment with funding for 21st century classrooms, Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) Accelerated Repair Program (ARP) partnerships, completion of ongoing maintenance projects, school kitchen renovations that support the delivery of fresh, nutritious food, and reserves for future projects identified by BuildBPS community engagement. Through a dedication of City capital funds and a strong working relationship with the MSBA, the plan will more than double the capital spending on BPS facilities over the next decade. The FY20-24 Capital Plan will invest $543 million in BPS projects. Mayor Walsh’s FY20-24 Capital Plan implements early action BuildBPS initiatives and reserves funding for projects identified by the BuildBPS engagement process.
Boston has also successfully ramped up its efforts to leverage MSBA ARP dollars to provide much needed improvements to its schools. This summer, construction will be underway at five schools to replace boilers, roofs and windows. Altogether, these projects represent an investment totaling $14.9 million, with $9.3 million supported by a grant from the MSBA. The Mayor’s Capital Plan sets aside an additional $33 million over five years to position Boston to further leverage MSBA ARP dollars in the future.
This Capital Plan allows Boston to invest in BPS projects already in the pipeline:
- Construction is underway on the new $124.8 million Boston Arts Academy project. The MSBA has committed a maximum project grant totaling $48.9 million.
- The $35.6 million renovation of the Eliot School at 585 Commercial Street will be completed by September.
- $1 million budgeted for the development of a building program and design for a grade 7-12 school at the McCormack School building.
- 25-30 schools will be enhanced this summer with kitchen renovations that support the delivery of fresh, nutritious food. This is the second phase in a multi-year kitchen renovation program. The investment will close food security gaps that prevent many children from learning to their full potential.
Feasibility studies will begin this year for the Josiah Quincy Upper School (JQUS) and the Carter School projects, in partnership with the MSBA.
The City is investing heavily through a variety of resources in preserving and creating affordable housing. The City is already leveraging other resources like the Community Preservation Act to support new housing across the City, and Mayor Walsh’s FY20-24 Capital Plan is filling the gap created by federal reductions in public housing support. This year’s plan provides a $30 million investment to improve the quality of Boston Housing Authority’s affordable public housing. This investment in the Boston Housing Authority Charlestown project will preserve and improve hundreds of deeply affordable units in the coming years.
Boston is also building on its commitment to expand access to affordable housing opportunities and combating chronic homelessness in Boston. As part of the FY20 operating budget, earlier this month Mayor Walsh announced $20.6 million in City funds to support housing efforts as part of the Mayor’s Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) operating budget proposal.
The City investments to sustain and expand its housing goals represent an increase of approximately $6.4 million, or 45 percent, in the FY20 operating budget for housing over last year. Five million dollars of this investment will be generated by implementing the Commonwealth’s new Room Occupancy Excise Law, in accordance with the City’s local ordinances. The Department of Neighborhood Development’s total budget also includes $64.9 million from external grants and $20.1 million in anticipated spending from the Inclusionary Development Program.
Over the past six years, Mayor Walsh has consistently increased resources to those facing substance use disorders and in need of addiction supports, including creating the first municipal office dedicated to address addiction and recovery, the Mayor’s Office of Recovery Services (ORS). Next year, the City will grow the Office of Recovery Services by 35 percent over its FY19 appropriation so that they can more effectively provide support to those in need of their services. This investment will include new staff, new technology and additional Mobile Sharp pickup improvements. The Mobile Sharps Team, expanded in an FY16 investment, picks up over 50,000 needles a year.
The FY20-24 Capital Plan dedicates more than $80 million to rebuild theLong Island Bridge. The City has also allocated $2 million in funding over the past two years for planning the recovery campus that will be housed on the island.
Opened in August 2017, Bostonâ€™s Engagement Center has served as a vital service and lifeline for those suffering from addiction and homelessness. Since August 2017, over 400,000 guests have accessed the Engagement Center. In FY20, the City will continue its work to make the Engagement Center permanent with an investment of nearly $500,000.
The City has a plan to radically improve the ways, speed and safety of moving around the City. Go Boston 2030 plans a city with streets and sidewalks that are safer, travel that is more reliable and predictable, and quality transportation choices that improve access and interconnect neighborhoods for all modes of travel. To achieve this, the FY20-24 Capital Plan continues to mobilize transformational funding for transportation projects across the City, in addition to its significant operating budget investments.
The FY20-24 Capital Plan makes large scale investments in roads, sidewalks, bike corridors, intersections, bridges, streetlights and other critical infrastructure. This plan embodies the City’s commitment to achieve a state of good repair on all major city assets and create a safe, reliable and accessible transportation system for all residents.
The plan includes a number of new projects and annual programs, like the reconstruction of the Commonwealth Avenue and Harvard Avenue intersection in Allston and additional funding for the citywide Green Links program. The Commonwealth Avenue intersection will feature plaza space, cycle tracks, and major safety enhancements, while the Green Links program will deliver on the Go Boston 2030 goal to create a connected network of pedestrian and bicycle paths that expand access to the City’s green open spaces. Overall, the City will invest $1.2 billion in its capital budget to ensure Boston’s streets are safe, accessible, and equitable.
Emergency Services: The FY20 budget includes another Community Assistance Team and additional resources so that EMS can advance their efforts to hire a diverse workforce. The FY20-24 Capital Plan allocates an additional $375,000 for design and construction of a new EMS garage with staff amenities in the Seaport district. Both investments will allow the City’s services to transform and expand as the City’s population does the same.
Fire: The FY20 budget includes a significant technology investment in new equipment, including the replacement of eight fire trucks for a total of 48 over five years, the replacement of bio packs for tunnel rescue and a brush truck which enables the Boston Fire Department (BFD) to respond to woodland fires. These investments will help ensure BFD has the tools it needs to respond when called upon. The budget provides another year of funding for a $500,000 program to enable industrial-level cleaning of firehouses. Reducing cancer risk for firefighters and supporting firefighter health and safety is one of the Mayor’s priorities.
The FY20-24 Capital Plan will include other health and safety improvements to firehouse projects as a result of recent programming. Starting in FY16, the Fire Department, in conjunction with the Public Facilities Department, studied best practices for firehouse design. Key design changes include defined zones within the firehouse to prevent contamination of living areas, along with improved personal and gear cleaning facilities. The results of this planning are reflected in the replacement of firehouses for Engine 42 in Roxbury and Engine 17 in Dorchester, at a total investment of $48 million. In FY20, the study and design phase will start for replacing Engine 3 in the South End and Engine 37 on Huntington Avenue.
Environment and Open Space
The City is at the forefront of recognizing and addressing the risks of climate change. In 2015, the City created its first climate action plan and during the summer of 2019 will release a new, updated version of the climate action plan. In 2016, the City added a comprehensive climate vulnerability analysis called Climate Ready Boston. Inspired by the Paris Agreement, the City raised its goal to be carbon neutral by 2050 and announced a $2 million investment to protect the City from rising sea levels and $45 million to make municipal buildings more resilient and energy efficient through the Renew Boston Trust. Since 2013, Boston has retained its title as the most “efficient city in the United States” as named by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.
As part of the FY20 operating and FY20-24 Capital Plan, the City plans to maintain a position of leadership in climate preparedness. In late 2018, Mayor Walsh pledged that 10 percent of new revenue in the capital budget would go toward climate resiliency. In the FY20-24 Capital Plan these include investments in Fort Point — an investment of $20 million that includes the design and implementation of a signature, climate resilient waterfront park along the Fort Point Channel — Moakley Park, Climate Ready Boston Harbor and climate resilient investments in parks, open spaces and infrastructure across the City.
At Franklin Park, long considered the crown jewel of Frederick Law Olmsted’s Emerald Necklace park system, current projects like the Pathways project are complete. Master planning is also underway on the $23 million Franklin Park and $23 million Boston Common revitalization projects.
The Moakley Park Master Plan project has also begun and design work will be funded beginning in FY20. This multi-use park will be designed with climate resilience at the forefront so that the entire City will be able to enjoy the park for years to come. At Harambee Park, Phase 1 is complete, Phase 2 is underway and Phase 3 will start design during FY20.Overall, the City is investing $313 million in improving parks in 17 neighborhoods.
Arts and Culture
Through the FY20-24 Capital Plan, the City will commit $13.4 million to the Percent for Arts program, as this funding will help create more permanent public art in places like the Dudley Branch Library and the new Area A-7 Police Station in East Boston.
The FY20 operating budget and FY20-24 Capital Plan significantly invests in construction and capital investments as well as additional books, programming, and community outreach to ensure the strength of local branches throughout Boston.
The Library’s FY20-24 Capital Plan continues to invest in revitalizing community branches throughout Boston. A number of capital projects will begin in FY20. These include: construction of a new $18.3 million Adams Street Branch Library; a $10.2 million renovation project at the Roslindale Branch Library; and programming studies for the West End and Codman Square. Additionally, a comprehensive $17.2 million building renovation will be completed at the Dudley Branch Library, a programming study for a new Fields Corner Branch Library will be finalized and a $15.7 million renovation project at the Central Library in Copley Square is underway now, to enhance preservation of historic special collections of rare books and manuscripts.