This week, Representative Mike Connolly joined with his Cambridge and Somerville colleagues in the Massachusetts House of Representatives to vote to pass legislation that will invest $1.3 billion to help cities and towns across Massachusetts fund infrastructure projects aimed at fighting climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The legislation establishes a $1 billion, 10-year grant program – known as GreenWorks – to fund clean energy, energy efficiency, and climate change resiliency measures that cut greenhouse gas emissions, fortify infrastructure and reduce municipal costs. The legislation also invests $325 million in other municipal green projects.
"Our cities and towns are best equipped to do the work of climate resiliency, which I why I was proud to vote for this package of direct state aide for them to do so," Rep. Connolly said.
"Our response to climate change is the most important challenge we face, so we now must build off this momentum and focus our attention on mitigation, by working to advance legislation that rapidly transitions our economy away from dirty fossil fuels and toward clean renewable energy," Rep. Connolly added.
Modeled after the state’s popular MassWorks program, GreenWorks funds projects that improve climate preparedness and resiliency, promote or produce clean energy or energy efficiency, build energy storage facilities, implement measures included in Massachusetts’ statewide climate adaptation strategy or otherwise help mitigate the impacts of climate change or reduce carbon emissions.
The Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs will accept applications annually and administer the program, which is funded through the issuance of bonds. In addition, the legislation makes targeted investments of $325 million in energy infrastructure, including:
- $100 million for investments in municipal microgrid energy systems
- $125 million for electric vehicles in municipal or regional transit authority fleets
- $20 million for the hiring of sustainability coordinators to develop and manage municipal projects resulting for the GreenWorks program
- $50 million to establish the Green Resiliency Fund to offer low-interest loans for municipalities when pursuing GreenWorks projects
- $30 million for the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources’ MOR-EV electric vehicle rebate program
Rep. Connolly had the opportunity to work directly on the GreenWorks proposal as a member of the House Committee on Bonding, Capital Expenditures, and State Assets. Rep. Connolly would like to thank the Speaker of the House, Robert DeLeo for his leadership in putting this proposal forward. The bill will now go to the Senate.