BOSTON — Tewksbury and Pepperell are among 16 communities across the commonwealth set to receive a total of $5.54 million in state funding for transportation infrastructure.
On Thursday, the administration of Gov. Charlie Baker announced the award, which is part of the fiscal 2023 first round of grants for the Complete Streets Funding Program that will promote infrastructure projects for bicyclists, pedestrians and others using public and private transportation.
The Complete Streets Funding Program aims to support municipalities in establishing safe and reliable transportation structures for all residents and teach communities how to incorporate specific safety measures. The program is administered by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.
Tewksbury and Pepperell will each receive $400,000 for their respective infrastructure plans.
In Tewksbury, the grant funding will go toward filling pedestrian network gaps between Andover Street and Fiske Street.
Officials in Pepperell aim to add crosswalks, sidewalks and “rectangular rapid flashing beacons,” according to a press release. The town will also make improvements to the shape of the roundabout at routes 111 and 113.
Municipalities can apply for up to $400,000 for their construction projects, which can include bicycle lanes, pedestrian signals at crosswalks or intersections, street lighting, sidewalks and “multimodal paths.”
Of the $5.54 million total funding, about 60% will be used in “environmental justice communities,” places where the median household income is no greater than 65% of the statewide median, at least 25% of residents identify as a race other than white and at least 25% of households have no family members older than 14 years old who only speak English or speak the language very well, according to the press release.
The Complete Streets Funding Program launched in 2016 and has since worked alongside 252 municipalities to establish a local Complete Streets policy.
Gov. Baker said he recognizes the positive impact the state program has made over the past six years.
“The Complete Streets Funding Program has now awarded over $83 million in total funding through 444 technical assistance and construction awards since 2016 to support municipalities in their ongoing efforts to improve their transportation infrastructure, build safe, convenient and easily accessible transportation networks and to facilitate economic development opportunities,” Baker said in a statement. “This program continues to advance mobility and connectivity throughout the Commonwealth.”
Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito expressed her support for the funding and said it serves a vital role in communities in Massachusetts.
“Complete Streets are for everyone and provide important opportunities for communities to achieve their unique needs and goals,” Polito said in a statement. “Programs like this support safe connectivity and increased economic activity throughout local neighborhoods and we look forward to seeing this progress in the future.”
Jamey Tesler, transportation secretary and CEO of MassDOT, said residents are in need of critical transportation infrastructure, and Complete Streets addresses that need.
“MassDOT is pleased to continue to work with municipal leaders to encourage the installation of infrastructure to help make for ‘Complete Streets’ everywhere,” Tesler said in a statement. “We want everyone in every city and town in the Commonwealth to have sidewalks, crosswalks, and other features which make it easy and safe to get to where they want to go.”
More information on the Complete Streets Funding Program is available at masscompletestreets.com.