BOSTON – The Senate on Thursday, January 23rd passed a bill authorizing $177 million in capital spending over the next five years to make improvements at and expand the state’s military installations, including repairing the runway at the Barnes Air National Guard Base in Westfield announced Senator Michael O. Moore (D-Millbury)

“This bill continues the long standing tradition in the Commonwealth to support our military bases in the Commonwealth,” stated Senator Moore. “In addition to security, military bases in Massachusetts play an important role in our economy. This bill is an investment that will serve a critical role in supporting both our economy and our armed forces. Additionally, language was included to allow for the possible expansion of veterans’ health services at UMass which would have a positive impact on veterans in the Second Worcester District.”

This legislation requires MassDevelopment to oversee and implement all improvement and expansion projects funded by the bonds authorized in this bill. In addition, the Executive Office of Administration and Finance is required to submit a report prior to the execution of any improvement or expansion project and to submit bi-annual progress reports.

To continue efforts to advance the state’s military installations, this bill continues the work of the Massachusetts Military Asset and Security Strategy Task Force that was created in 2012. The Task Force, to be chaired by the Governor, will work with representatives from the military, business community and the government to bring new programs and innovative solutions on each base.

This bill also does the following:

  • Authorizes MassDevelopment to enter into agreements to provide utility services;
  • Authorizes the Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM) to convey a railroad right-of-way located in Mashpee, Bourne and Sandwich to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation; and,
  • Authorizes DCAMM to convey land or infrastructure owned by the Commonwealth on the Joint Base Cape Cod in Bourne, Falmouth, Mashpee and Sandwich to MassDevelopment for $1.

In addition, this bill de-authorizes spending accounts for the Hanscom Air Force Base and the Natick Soldier Systems Center expansion projects that were approved by the Legislature in 2005.

According to the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute, military installations contribute more than $14.2 billion to the Commonwealth’s economy and support more than 46,000 jobs.

The Senate and House will now produce a compromise bill for final passage and consideration of the governor.