Five Year Capital Plan invests in City’s infrastructure, supports Boston’s economy and improves quality of life for residents
BOSTON – Thursday, April 13, 2017 – Mayor Martin J. Walsh today presented his $2.08 billion proposed Fiscal Year 2018 – Fiscal Year 2022 (FY18-FY22) Capital Plan, which makes critical investments in the City’s infrastructure in every Boston neighborhood, guided by Boston’s citywide plan, Imagine Boston 2030. With the City’s planning efforts well underway, Mayor Walsh is proposing to maximize the use of all resources available for capital investment in this year’s plan. The initiatives included in this Capital Plan will move Boston residents’ priorities from idea to action by:
“This Capital Plan prioritizes investments in Boston’s neighborhoods and is a direct reflection of the feedback we received from thousands of residents who contributed ideas to our planning processes,” said Mayor Walsh. “I am proud that we are able to put the wheels in motion to begin investing in projects that are important to Boston’s people, and that will prepare our City for a year of groundbreaking success.”
Under the Imagine Boston 2030 umbrella, the City is investing in the core goals of BuildBPS, Go Boston 2030, Boston Creates, and Climate Ready Boston. An estimated 77 percent of the investment in the FY18-22 Capital Plan is aligned with the City’s planning efforts. In order to more expeditiously address the City’s investment aspirations, Mayor Walsh has increased planned borrowings by 22.5 percent over last year’s plan, leveraged one-time funding sources including Winthrop Square Garage sale proceeds and the Parking Meter Fund surplus balance, and advanced the City’s usage of the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) Accelerated Repair Program.
“As we begin the process of reviewing Mayor Walsh’s budget, I am pleased to see the inclusion of increased funding for longstanding facility and infrastructure improvements throughout the entire city,” said City Councilor Mark Ciommo, Chair of the Ways and Means Committee. “I look forward to working with my City Council colleagues and the Administration during the upcoming budget hearings, and I am confident that further collaboration will lead to a fiscally responsible budget for a sustainable and equitable future in Boston.”
Today’s budget complements Mayor Walsh’s proposed FY18 operating budget, which was released last week, and is designed to balance sustainability and increased investments in key initiatives to more fully support Boston’s neighborhoods.
For more information about the Capital Plan, please visit budget.boston.gov, a new website about the operating budget and capital plan that unites the budget numbers with the context so residents can understand how Boston’s budget works.
Mayor Walsh has committed $1 billion over ten years to bring Boston’s school buildings into the 21st century, and this Capital Plan launches that investment with funding for 21st century classrooms, MSBA Accelerated Repair Program partnerships, completion of projects in the pipeline, and reserves for future projects identified by BuildBPS community engagement and feedback. Through a dedication of City capital funds and a strong working relationship with the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA), the plan will more than double the capital spending on BPS facilities over the next decade.
Mayor Walsh’s FY18-22 Capital Plan, drawing on city, state and federal sources, will invest $709 million over the next five years in implementing the core initiatives outlined in Go Boston 2030: streets that are safer for all users of our roads and sidewalks, particularly pedestrians and cyclists; travel that is more reliable and predictable; and quality transportation choices that improve access to interconnect our neighborhoods for all modes of travel. The Capital Plan notably invests in the transformation of Hyde Square, North Square, Central Square, Dudley Street, and Boylston Street.
The FY18-22 Capital Plan focuses on adding protected bicycle lanes on every “Great Streets” project, and on off-street paths, such as the Fenway-Roxbury Connector, South Bay Harbor Trail, and Connect Historic Boston, all complemented by continuing the $900,000 annual investment in the Strategic Bicycle Network.
Consistent with Imagine Boston 2030 and Go Boston 2030, the Capital Plan funds a multi-year program to create improved and signalized intersections, including the Father Hart Bridge area in Hyde Park, where the City aims to install new traffic signals at each end of the bridge, as well as at the interconnected signals in Wolcott Square.
The City will invest $10 million in Boston Fiber Network (BoNet) to improve Boston’s fiber backbone and infrastructure. The project will provide broadband services to 73 Boston Public Schools, 24 family public housing developments and more than 100 City buildings, while also strengthening public safety communications.
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 keystone park for the city and restoring Boston Common to its full vibrancy.
Mayor Walsh recognizes the need for inclusive design and has created robust budgets for park renovation projects at Martin’s Park in the Seaport, Smith Playground in Allston, and McConnell and Garvey Parks in Dorchester. This year, Mayor Walsh will launch a $4.8 million pathway improvement around Jamaica Pond, Phase II of Mary Hannon Playground in Roxbury, and a $4 million renovation of Reservation Road Park in Hyde Park. FY18 will also bring the beginning of the renovation of the 45-acre Harambee Park.
Energy and Environment
Leveraging outside funding, the Capital Plan allows for development of more detailed climate plans for Boston neighborhoods, especially those most at risk for coastal flooding, as recommended in Climate Ready Boston.
Through Renew Boston Trust, Boston will undertake renovation projects to reduce City buildings’ energy consumption and capture the resulting financial savings.
Boston is renovating several neighborhood community centers to better serve residents’ needs. In FY18, Mayor Walsh is launching a major renovation to the BCYF Curley Community Center, an asset of the South Boston community. Construction will begin in FY18 on renovations to the BCYF Vine Street Community Center in Roxbury and the BCYF Gallivan Community Center in Mattapan.
Mayor Walsh’s Capital Plan invests in reconstruction of roads and sidewalks in the Whittier Street housing development in conjunction with a $30 million Housing and Urban Development grant to revitalize the development and surrounding neighborhood. Known as Whittier Choice, the project will ultimately create a total of 387 mixed-income rental units.
Boston will also be renovating the second floor of the Woods Mullen Shelter to increase programming space, including housing search services and front door triage that enables shelter staff to meet with every new guest entering the shelters to conduct an in-depth assessment.
Arts and Culture
The Percent for Art Program, funded for the first time in Mayor’s Capital Plan, demonstrates the City’s leadership and commitment to sustainable funding for the arts by setting aside one percent of the City’s annual capital borrowing for the commissioning of public art. The City projects to borrow $170 million in FY18 to support the capital plan, and will invest one percent, or $1.7 million, in public art projects in FY18.
In FY18, a $15.7 million project will be launched to preserve the Library’s valuable and historic special collections in rare books and manuscripts.This project will begin with the inventory of the Central Library in Copley Square’s Rare Books & Manuscripts Department’s nearly 250,000 rare books and one million manuscripts.
The Mayor’s Capital Plan also launches projects for new or renovated spaces at the Uphams Corner and Fields Corner branches in FY18. It includes funding for new, smaller scale facility improvement projects, including interior updates at the South End, Lower Mills, and West Roxbury branches, as well as landscaping and exterior space upgrades at the South Boston Branch.
The City is also renovating neighborhood firehouses and police stations. Design is underway on the new East Boston Police Station, a $25.5 million project that will replace the existing A-7 station. The new Engines 42 in Roxbury and 17 in Dorchester will be among the first of firehouses in the nation that reflect safety enhances that keep fire contaminants away from living areas, and improve personal and gear cleaning facilities.
The Police Department is upgrading and replacing its radio system to serve our police officers, as it had outlived its useful life. The project will include $56 million in operating and capital investments over four years.
Mayor Walsh’s Capital Plan includes funding for Youth Lead the Change, a participatory budgeting process where young Bostonians make decisions about how to spend $1 million each year. Projects funded to date include providing laptops in schools, park renovations, adding trash cans and recycling bins, and installing wifi in schools and community centers.
Mayor Walsh launched the City Hall Master Plan to allow Boston to rethink the way the public interacts with government in City Hall and to enliven the plaza. The City has successfully launched pilot projects, including “Boston Winter” on the plaza and the exterior lighting installation to enhance the building’s original design and City Hall plaza. The City has also begun lobby renovations to provide a new visitor entrance, information desk and signage, and coffee kiosk to make the building more user-friendly. With funding through the FY18-FY22 Capital Plan, the City will renovate the plaza and transactional spaces in City Hall to provide a more inviting space to the public while making needed infrastructure and accessibility improvements.