Massachusetts has received $5.3 billion in state and local recovery funds through the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).
Among other priorities, the Baker administration has proposed investing those funds in several areas that will benefit the Neponset River and climate resilience in our watershed communities.
Please contact your legislators to urge them to support these priorities with, at minimum, the funding proposed by Governor Baker:
- Water and sewer infrastructure ($400 million)
According to a 2017 report by the state auditor, Massachusetts communities have combined water system spending needs in excess of $17 billion.
By investing in clean water infrastructure and prioritizing green infrastructure approaches, we can create local jobs that will not only support a post-pandemic economic recovery but will also build our communities’ resilience to climate change.
- Environmental infrastructure and climate resilience ($300 million)
This funding would go towards the state’s existing Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) program, which provides grants for climate resilience planning and implementation but currently receives many more project applications than it is able to fund.
This program has provided funding not only for all of our watershed towns to assess climate resiliency needs, but has also funded crucial action projects such as a comprehensive flood model in Canton. Nature-based solutions are a primary focus of the program, with projects addressing intensifying climate threats like heat islands and flooding.
Importantly, watershed organizations and other non-profits who play a key role in facilitating regional collaboration on climate resilience should be eligible to receive this funding.
- State park facilities ($100 million)
Throughout the pandemic, outdoor public spaces were vital as safe places for recreation, a respite from the heat, and solace from social stressors.
Parks, both large and small, contribute to public health and climate resilience, providing benefits like cleaner air and water, cooler local temperatures, and reduced localized flooding. Investing in these public spaces supports many other pandemic recovery priorities.
Please contact your legislators and ask them to prioritize these investments!
To find your legislator: https://malegislature.gov/Search/FindMyLegislator
Example phone script:
Hi. My name is ____________ and I’m a constituent. Thank you for your past support of the Neponset River Watershed and environmental priorities. I’m calling today because I understand that the legislature is developing a plan for how to spend the American Rescue Plan Act money.
I urge you to ensure that at least $800 million spent on local climate resilience, including:
$400 million for water and sewer infrastructure;
$300 million for Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness grants; and
$100 for state park facilities.
Thank you very much!
For more information, please contact Advocacy Director Kerry Snyder at email@example.com