Governor Releases FY20 Budget Recommendations

As required by the state Constitution, Governor Charlie Baker filed his recommendations for the FY20 budget on January 23. The budget contains $42.7 billion in gross spending, a 1.5% increase over projected FY19 spending, and anticipates a deposit of $297 million into the Stabilization Fund, for a projected balance of $2.8 billion. The FY20 budget assumes a reduction in the income tax rate to 5% on January 1, 2020, which according to the Governor’s budget message will return $88 million to taxpayers during the fiscal year.

In addition to the budget proposal, the Baker-Polito Administration filed legislation to launch a major new climate change adaptation initiative, funded through a modest increase in the deeds excise paid on real estate transactions. This investment will amount to $75 million in FY20, and $137 million on an annualized basis to support the Commonwealth’s communities in upgrading their infrastructure and planning for the impacts of climate change. The measure, which is a similar concept to what UCANE proposed before for the Clean Water Trust, would allow for resiliency spending on water infrastructure, among other priorities.

Of additional note to UCANE members, the Governor’s budget recommended an increase of $5.5 million to the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities to support and enhance the pipeline safety division’s critical testing, investigations, and oversight responsibilities to ensure that natural gas distribution companies are in compliance with safety regulations. Further, the Governor level-funded the contract assistance line-item for the Clean Water Trust’s use to the previous appropriation of slightly over $63 million. Through a supplemental budget, approved by the legislature and signed by the Governor, this important line item saw a one-time $10 million increase last fiscal year. The decrease for the Clean Water Trust was expected, but since last year’s advocacy was effective, there could be an opportunity to increase funding once again.

The Governor’s budget level-funded the appropriation for the Underground Storage Tank reimbursement program, which was temporarily increased last year by $20 million to reduce the backlog on existing claims, to $8 million. Finally, there were two outside sections that may be of interest to UCANE, including a technical change in the definitions of “supplier diversity programs” now run by MassDOT and a water/school deleading initiative that appears to allow for the use of revolving funds for school deleading programs.

The Massachusetts House of Representatives will take up its proposed FY20 budget in April, while the Senate will consider its version in May. A conference committee of three Representatives and three Senators will then resolve differences in the two proposals by reporting a final version for the Governor’s approval, ideally, before July 1.

New Department of Family and Medical Leave Begins Listening Sessions

The new Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave (DFML) has announced a series of listening sessions to solicit feedback on the proposed regulations governing this new program. Responsible for operating the estimated $800 million paid family and medical leave program, DFML will run the program with funding from a small payroll tax beginning on July 1.
The new law calls for up to 12 weeks of job-protected paid leave to care for a seriously ill or injured family member, to care for a new child, or to meet family needs arising from a family member’s active duty military service. It also authorizes up to 20 weeks of job-protected paid leave to recover from a worker’s own serious illness or injury, or to care for a seriously ill or injured service member.

Benefits will become available on January 1, 2021 for workers seeking time off to bond with a new child, take care of a sick or injured service member or to tend to a serious personal health condition. On July 1, 2021, benefits will be made available for workers to care for a family member with a serious health condition.

The leave benefits are to be funded through employer contributions to a new trust. The contribution rate is 0.63 percent on the first $128,400 of a worker’s annual earnings and employers can require that employees contribute up to 40 percent of their total medical leave contribution and up to 100 percent of their total family leave contribution.
The proposed regulations may be viewed at:

https://www.mass.gov/files/documents/2019/01/23/DRAFT%20DFML%20Regulations.pdf. Written comments or testimony may be sent to MassPFML@Mass.gov

New Chairman Appointed to Lead Department of Public Utilities

In an end of January press release from his office, Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Matthew Beaton announced that Matthew Nelson has been appointed Chairman of the Department of Public Utilities. Nelson replaces outgoing Chairman Angela M. O’Connor, who departs following a four-year term.

According to the release, under Chairman O’Connor’s leadership, the Department of Public Utilities addressed important matters including the modernization of the electric grid, the passing of utility federal tax savings back to ratepayers, the compensation of owners of new solar projects, and the strengthening of consumer protections for competitive electric supply sales. Additionally, during Chairman O’Connor’s tenure, the Department implemented one of the most comprehensive ride-for-hire laws in the country in an effort to prioritize public safety and thorough background checks.

Mr. Nelson assumes the role of Chairman having worked for the Department for eight years, most recently as the Director of Electric Power and Regional and Federal Affairs where he played key roles in overseeing investments in grid modernization, general rate case issues, renewable energy development, climate strategies, competitive supply, and management of storm restoration issues. During his time in state service, Mr. Nelson has also played an instrumental role in developing comprehensive energy legislation that requires state utilities to solicit long-term contracts for 1,200 megawatts of hydropower and 1,600 megawatts of offshore wind energy.

Prior to public service, Mr. Nelson spent four years at Eversource Energy as the Supervisor of Regulatory, Policy, and Planning as part of the MassSave Initiative – a nationally recognized public policy initiative that has succeeded in helping the Commonwealth achieve its environmental goals, as well as reduce costs for Massachusetts ratepayers, and those across New England.

A graduate of Stonehill College, Mr. Nelson holds a Master’s degree in economics from Tufts University.

Baker-Polito Administration Awards Water Management and Conservation Grants

At the end of January, the Baker-Polito Administration awarded five grants totaling $315,901 to help six communities and water suppliers with water conservation, source and demand management, and other water withdrawal planning and mitigation projects across the Commonwealth. The funding will be utilized in the communities of Auburn, Danvers, Norfolk, Plymouth, Westford, and Littleton.

The grants are part of the Water Management Act (WMA) Grant Program, an effort by the EEA and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) to maintain clean rivers and streams and improve degraded water resources over time. The WMA Grant Program helps water suppliers by providing grants for watershed planning projects, demand management, and minimization and mitigation activities for water withdrawal impacts.

The following grants were awarded:
Auburn Water District: Permanent Interconnection with Worcester – Design and Permitting Phase 2 – $84,400.
Town of Danvers: Drought Management and Minimization Planning – $74,888.
Town of Norfolk: Integrating Water Smart Planning and Practices – $25,000.
Town of Plymouth: Supply Evaluation and Water Conservation – $53,544.
Westford and Littleton: Stonybrook Restoration Project – $78,069.
The WMA Grant Program helps guide water management in the Commonwealth for both the long-term water needs of communities and the protection of the aquatic ecosystems. The program is funded through the Massachusetts Five-Year Capital Plan, and requires a 20 percent match from the communities involved.

Additional details on the WMA grant projects for 2019 can be found at:

https://www.mass.gov/service-details/water-management-act-grant-programs-for-public-water-suppliers

UMass Lowell Center to Assist in Highway Improvements through Federal Grant

University of Massachusetts, Lowell (UMass Lowell) researchers are developing ways to improve the durability and longevity of New England’s roads, bridges, and tunnels as part of a new initiative supported by the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT).
Funded by $14 million from the USDOT, the Transportation Infrastructure Durability Center (TIDC) will bring together researchers and students from universities across New England to advance solutions that improve the region’s infrastructure. The center will tackle problems such as the toll New England’s winter weather takes on roadways, bridges, and tunnels. The salt used to de-ice road surfaces further damages foundations and pavements and corrodes steel structures, creating costly problems for motorists, cities and states.

Prof. Tzuyang Yu, Associate Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, is leading UMass Lowell’s research team, which includes Civil and Environmental Engineering Prof. Susan Faraji, Electrical and Computer Engineering Professor Xingwei Wang, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering Zhu Mao and Plastics Engineering Professor Ramaswamy Nagarajan. UMass Lowell students participating in the project include Ruben Diaz, a civil engineering major from Dunstable, and Ph.D. candidates Ahmed Al-Zeyadi of Quincy, Cong Du of Dracut and Sanjana Vinayaka of Lowell.

One out of every five miles of highway pavement in the nation is in poor condition and the roads have a significant and increasing backlog of rehabilitation needs, according to a 2017 study by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). The researchers hope improvements to the civil infrastructure will result in lower maintenance costs, as well as enhanced safety, fewer traffic delays and accidents, and reduced fuel consumption and carbon emissions.

Professor Yu is already researching innovations that could contribute to the success of the new center. Last year, Professor Wu, Professor Wang and UMass Lowell Civil Engineering Professor Pradeep Kurup, along with researchers from Saint-Gobain Corp. in Northborough, were awarded $853,000 in funding by the Advanced Functional Fabrics of America (AFFOA) to create textiles integrated with optical fibers and sensors. These next-generation fabrics are to be applied to structures such as pipelines and bridges to detect strain or cracks in their early stages, minimizing repair costs, environmental impacts and disruptions to people’s lives and businesses.

Along with UMass Lowell, partners in the new TIDC include the University of Maine, the University of Connecticut, the University of Vermont, the University of Rhode Island, and Western New England University.

Reprinted from Curbed Boston

The Boston waterfront seems destined for a giant observation wheel. Or at least an attempt at one.

Not even three months after one of the proposals for rejuvenating the Charlestown Navy Yard called for a 180-foot observation wheel on its Dry Dock 2 comes news that a group of developers unrelated to that effort is shopping the idea of a 200-foot wheel at Long Wharf, Christopher Columbus Park, or another waterfront spot.

According to the Globe’s Tim Logan, the Long Wharf wheel would extend over the water and would be part of a two-building complex with outdoor seating. Plans are still very preliminary, and the would-be developers face myriad challenges, not least height limitations on the waterfront.

As the push for an observation wheel on the Boston waterfront apparently heats up—who saw that coming?—it might be worth looking down the coast at what happened in Staten Island, New York.

There, developers spent hundreds of millions of dollars—with support from New York City officials—trying to build an observation wheel on the borough’s northern shore. Delays, cost overruns, etc., led to the plan’s collapse in late 2018.

 


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Boston-Construction-New-MGH

Reprinted from Boston Herald

Massachusetts General Hospital says it will spend more than $1 billion to expand its Boston campus to address growing capacity challenges.

In an email sent to employees Tuesday, MGH president Peter Slavin announced the hospital plans to build a 12-story structure for 450 single-bed rooms housed in a pair of connected towers. The new building is a “much-needed, vital structure that will enable the MGH to deliver 21st century care in a 21st century environment,” Slavin wrote.

The new additions will be located entirely within MGH’s current campus, with a facade along Cambridge Street, extending from North Grove Street (the main hospital entrance) to Blossom Street and going back to Parkman Street.

Single-bed rooms are the national standard of care for new hospital construction as they offers privacy, space for families, and a quiet environment for patients to recover. Currently, 38 percent of MGH’s beds are in single rooms, which Slavin said is “far less than most other hospitals in Boston and lagging well behind national peer institutions.”

MGH, which is owned by Partners Healthcare, will file a letter of intent with city planners at the Boston Planning & Development Agency today. The hospital’s major development project is slated to start in 2020 and completed by 2026, Slavin wrote in his email.

“It’s important that our hospitals are making the improvements needed to keep Boston at the global forefront of health care,” Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh said in a statement to the Herald. “We look forward to closely reviewing Mass General Hospital’s proposal once it is filed and beginning the comprehensive public process with input from the community.”

Below the building will be six levels of underground parking that can accommodate more than 1,000 vehicles, Slavin said, replacing the spaces from the hospital’s Parkman Garage. Several MGH buildings will be demolished and redeveloped.

The hospital’s announcement comes as Boston Children Hospital’s $1 billion Longwood campus expansion is underway. Children’s plans to complete its new 11-story clinical building by 2021, adding 71 new beds to the existing 404 beds already there, and will construct a new outpatient center in Brookline.

Slavin said he understands the large campus expansion “may raise questions about whether the costs of the facility will increase the overall cost of health care,” but assured employees a “significant source of funding” will come from philanthropy.


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Since 1961 we have been the top provider of Hot Galvanized Anchor Bolts, Rods, Studs, Nuts, Washers, screws and 1000s of products. Allied Bolt & Screw can fulfill any building and manufacturing need. Contact Us for more information.


Massachusetts Construction News: How a Minor League Team's Move Could Birth a Central Massachusetts Development Boom

Reprinted from BostonRealEstateNews.com

Last week, the Pawtucket Red Sox, a Triple-A Minor League Baseball team, announced that they will move to Worcester, Massachusetts by 2021. The move includes a new, 10,000-seat stadium in the city’s Canal District and a new name – the Worcester Red Sox (WooSox).

Worcester’s real estate community have been optimistic that the Minor League move could contribute to a rise in developments throughout central Massachusetts.

In addition to the $90 million Polar Park stadium being constructed in Worcester’s Canal District, developer Madison Downtown Holdings expected to construct 250 market-rate apartments, two hotels and 65,000 square-feet of retail and restaurant space in time for the team’s first game in 2021.

Worcester, the second-largest city in New England, has been gaining residents for the first time in decades and is expected to surpass the 200,000 population mark for the first time since 1950.

Worcester city manager Edward Augustus Jr., who received a standing ovation from the gathering crowd when the deal was announced to the public, acknowledges that a development was already in planning stages, but that the addition of the ballpark and state funding for infrastructure improvements to the area changed the plans drastically.

“From the outset, the developer told the city that he preferred to develop the north parcels first and that the development would be smaller and slower,” Augustus claimed. “The presence of the ballpark, coupled with the public investment, significantly enhanced the scope and timing of the development and made it a much more robust project.”

The state is offering a $2.5 million tax incentive for Madison Downtown Holdings through the Housing Development Incentive Program for the residential portion of the project.

Worcester developers are anticipating that the surrounding district will spark a development boom and provide traffic to the area’s growing dining and retail scene.

The city has seen a wealth of new developments and plans in recent months, including Citysquare – a $565 million mixed-phase development on the site of the Worcester Common Outlets mall.

“I think the increased cost of living in Boston and the improvement of Worcester’s reputation since 2008 has helped,” developer Ed Murphy said. “A lot of people have come back home when, in the past, they may not have wanted to.”

“One of the biggest hurdles that Worcester has had is retaining young people and students that go to all the schools there,” NAI Hunneman Director of Research Liz Berthelette claims. “These developments will hopefully keep people in that area.”

While Boston is expected to remain New England’s employment hub, we may see the formation of a niche for central Massachusetts.


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Boston Landing

Reprinted from Curbed Boston

The approximately 14-acre, 1.76 million-square-foot Boston Landing in Brighton continues to unfold—the latest addition is the Celtics’ practice facility, which officially topped off in August.

The complex when completed will include a 250,000-square-foot HQ for sneaker giant New Balance; a 325,000-square-foot Bruins practice facility, including rink; 650,000 square feet of Class A office space; a 140,000-square-foot, 175-key hotel; and a commuter-rail station.

Some of that as already opened, including the New Balance headquarters and the station.

As for the Celtics’ facility—dubbed the Auerbach Center after the late, great coach and team president—that is expected to run to 160,000 square feet and open in mid-2018. It’s rendered here.

 


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Reprinted from ConstructionDive

Dive Brief:

  • According to a Wall Street Journal analysis of state and local revenue collection and spending, public agencies are increasing their infrastructure investments and making a dent in projects that have been on back burners for many years.
  • A strong economy has resulted in an increase in consumer spending, and all that new tax revenue is helping to drive not only infrastructure spending but municipal borrowing as well. In fact, according to October 2018 data, the latest available from the Commerce Department, total state and local construction spending — based on a seasonal adjusted annual rate — was up 9.7% from October 2017 to more than $288 billion. Commercial construction was up the most year over year at 62%, followed by amusement and recreation (30%), water supply (22%), public safety (18%) and transportation infrastructure (15%). Tax revenue, adjusted for inflation, grew by 6% in the second quarter of 2018 from the second quarter of 2017, according to a Tax Policy Center report.
  • Year-to-date state and local government borrowing through October 2018 was up 19% from the same period in 2017, driven in part by a desire to take advantage of current interest rates in case they continue to increase. The pipeline of publicly funded construction projects, including those much-needed upgrades and repairs that have been shelved due to a previous lack of money, according to the newspaper, could make up for potential industry slowdowns.

Dive Insight:

Many state and local residents around the country showed their commitment to public construction in November by voting for at least $24 billion of bond initiatives.

Some measures that won approval included $16 billion for California construction projects. That measure included $3.5 billion of security and plumbing improvements in San Diego; $2 billion for homelessness prevention housing, $4 billion for other housing initiatives and veterans’ loans and $1.5 billion for children’s hospitals.

New Jersey voters gave the green light to $500 million for school and infrastructure projects and were joined by North Carolina, where voters approved $548 million for school construction, and Oregon, where residents supported $653 million for affordable housing. In Collin County, Texas, which is part of the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area, voters said “yes” to $600 million for non-tolled highway construction.

And while some voters don’t have a problem paying more at the pump in the form of extra fuel taxes to fund road upgrades and repairs — like those in California who rejected a repeal of a recent increase — some are still resistant. A Missouri measure that would have increased the state’s gas tax by 10 cents per gallon in order to pay for road and bridge work failed to pass.

 


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Since 1961 we have been the top provider of Hot Galvanized Anchor Bolts, Rods, Studs, Nuts, Washers, screws and 1000s of products. Allied Bolt & Screw can fulfill any building and manufacturing need. Contact Us for more information.


boston construction news

Reprinted from bostonrealestate.com

This week, the Board of Directors of the Boston Planning & Development Agency approved three new development projects that will generate a total of 257 residential units and 89 jobs upon their completion.

37-43 North Beacon Street project in Allston to generate artist live spaces, provide amenities to promote alternative modes of transportation

Live: 72 new apartments, nine condominiums, nine artist live spaces
Connect: Ground-floor programming and art to enhance the pedestrian experience, shuttle service, contribution towards the Allston/Brighton Mobility Study
Size: 94,047

Located at the edge of Allston’s Union Square, 37-43 North Beacon Street will deliver a five-story building containing 72 apartments for rent, as well as a separate four-story building made up of nine for-sale condominiums. Apartments will comprise 12 two-bedroom units, 46 one-bedroom units and 14 studios. The rental building will occupy four floors of mixed income housing above an at-grade lobby with flexible art gallery/amenity space.

The condo building will consist of 2 three-bedroom units, 2 two-bedroom units, 4 one-bedroom units and one studio unit, with garage parking accessible from Sinclair Road.

37-43 North Beacon’s amenities will encourage the use of alternative methods of transportation, including a covered and secure bicycle storage for each unit; a transit screen in the lobby with local transit options; and an onsite ride sharing service.

30 Thorn St to bring 45 residential units to Hyde Park’s East River Street neighborhood

Live: 45 new residential units, six Inclusionary Development Policy (IDP) units, development of vacant lot

Work: 35 jobs created
Connect: 21 parking spaces, covered bike storage, adjacent to major bus routes
Size: 45,700 square-feet

Located in the East River Street neighborhood of Hyde Park, the 30 Thorn Street project includes the construction of a new six-story building with 45 residential rental units and 21 off-street parking spaces located in the building’s parking garage.

The anticipated unit mix comprises 15 studio units, 15 one-bedroom units, 10 two-bedroom units and 5 three-bedroom units.

The project further includes ground-floor common space, lobby, trash room and related improvements in landscaping, site design, pedestrian and vehicular access. Secure and covered bicycle storage will be provided adjacent to he parking space while several visitor bicycle racks will be located near the sidewalk at the building’s entry.

Roxbury’s Haynes House slated for revitalization

Live: 131 renovated housing units, 121 units preserved as affordable, no current residents will be displaces

Work: 250 construction jobs
Connect: Full access to the 15 ongoing community health, wellness, and education programs; full accessibility and community amenities
Size: 134,612 square-feet

The seven-story Haynes House was originally constructed in 1974. It housed 131 family rental apartments comprised of 105 two-bedrooms and 26 one-bedrooms.

The revitalization effort will take approximately 16 months. Existing residents will maintain occupancy during the construction period, with work divided into 10 phases to accommodate the occupied status. While the building’s footprint and unit make-up will not be modified, the exterior of the building will require a façade material replacement.

The project will comprise replacement of the building’s exterior masonry façade, 100% window replacement, new storefront building entires, life safety system upgrades, energy enhancements, accessibility improvements, and selective unit and common area upgrades.


About Allied Bolt & Screw

Since 1961 we have been the top provider of Hot Galvanized Anchor Bolts, Rods, Studs, Nuts, Washers, screws and 1000s of products. Allied Bolt & Screw can fulfill any building and manufacturing need. Contact Us for more information.


Stainless Steel Fasteners

Allied Bolt and Screw maintains one of the largest inventories in the industry of Stainless Steel Bolts, Screws, Nuts, Washers, Threaded Rods, Studs, Nuts, Washers and Anchors.

Allied Bolt and Screw stocks Stainless Steel Hex Bolts, Carriage Bolts and Lag Bolts and Threaded Rod through 1” diameter, in over 200 sizes.

Allied also stocks Stainless Steel Finished Hex Nuts, Finished Jam Nuts, Heavy Hex Nuts, Kep Nuts, Acorn Nuts and Rod Coupling Nuts, along with Stainless Steel Flat Washers, Fender Washers, Lock Washers, Tooth Lock Washers and Bonded Neoprene Sealing washers.

Allied Bolt and Screw stocks one of the largest inventories of Stainless Steel Screws including Machine Screws in over 1,000 sizes in 10 different head styles, as well as Sheet Metal (Self-Tapping) Screws in over 1,000 sizes in 10 different head styles. Allied stocks Stainless Steel Self Drilling Screws in Hex Washer Head, Flat Head and Truss Head in over 300 sizes. Allied also stocks Stainless Steel Deck Screws in both Phillips and Square Drives up to 6” in length, as well as Stainless Steel Thread Cutting Screws.


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About Allied Bolt & Screw

We are the top provider of Stainless Steel Fasteners as well as Hot Galvanized Anchor Bolts, Rods, Studs, Nuts, Washers, screws and 1000s of products. Allied Bolt & Screw can fulfill any building and manufacturing need. Contact Us for more information.


Neil Goldberg provides a touching holiday message for 2018. It’s the time of giving and being kind to others. He has a few memories he also shares for us to think about . . . Happy Holidays from Allied Bolt & Screw Corporation

Hot Galvanized Bolts, Nuts And Washers

Allied Bolt and Screw maintains one of the largest inventories in the industry of Hot Galvanized Hex Bolts, Carriage Bolts, Lag Bolts, Nuts, Washers, Rods, Studs and Anchors.

Allied Bolt and Screw stocks Hot Galvanized Bolts from ¼” diameter through 1-1/2” diameter up to 48” in length.  Allied also stocks Hot Galvanized Threaded Rods through 2” diameter up to 12’ in length in materials A36, F1554 Grade 55 and F1554 Grade 105.

Allied Bolt and Screw stocks Hot Galvanized A307 Flat Washers, F436 Hardened Washers, Dock Washers, Square Washers, OG Washers and Lock Washers up to 2” diameter.

Allied Bolt and Screw stocks Hot Galvanized A307 Finished Hex Nuts, Heavy Hex Nuts, Rod Couplings and A563 DH Structural Heavy Hex Nuts up to 2” diameter.

To take it one step further, Allied Bolt and Screw also stocks Hot Galvanized Wedge Anchors and Mechanically Galvanized Wej-It® Power-Skru Bolt Anchors™.

 


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About Allied Bolt & Screw

We are the top provider of Hot Galivinized Bolts as well as Hot Galvanized Anchor Bolts, Rods, Studs, Nuts, Washers, screws and 1000s of products. Allied Bolt & Screw can fulfill any building and manufacturing need. Contact Us for more information.