On March 11, the Selectboard for the town of Whately unanimously voted to support H935/S579, An Act Establishing the Massachusetts Infrastructure Bank.

As the board pointed out…

As its name provides, H935 focuses its efforts on mitigating chronic deficiencies in our public infrastructure, including, of great importance to us in Western Massachusetts, farmland preservation, public land management, and even climate change mitigation. These issues are not new to anyone in the Commonwealth, unfortunately, neither is the ongoing difficulty in paying for them. What is new in H935 is the concept of paying for these projects by harnessing the power of our already existing banking system to fund an extraordinary public need.

Whately is a small, rural town where infrastructure projects tend to fall in a “middle need” range, too costly to be paid out of free cash, or through loans from community banks, but not costly enough for bonding. For example…

…here in Whately we have been saving our Chapter 90 funds for years to fund the gap between what we can secure from MassDOT ($500,000+/-) and the actual cost ($680,000+/-) of the Williamsburg Road Bridge Replacement Project. Were we able to have borrowed this $180,000+/- from a public infrastructure bank, at favorable interest rates with a simple application form and standardized underwriting criteria, we would have saved limited staff resources and used our Chapter 90 funds for other important projects.

You can read the letter here.

We are thankful for the Selectboard’s support and hope that they will continue to speak up in favor of a public bank bill when it is filed in the next session.