Chelsea and Charlestown will benefit immensely from an Information Technology Bond Bill bond bill signed by Gov. Charlie Baker last Friday.
Senator Sal DiDomenico and State Rep. Dan Ryan joined their colleagues in the Senate and House to pass legislation authorizing up to $1.8 billion in spending for the improvement of information technology equipment and related projects in Massachusetts – bringing millions into the Chelsea and Charlestown communities to assist students in getting online for fall classes and to help senior citizens get access to computers.
The legislation also contains key funding for food security, housing and economic development, and investments in educational technologies in Massachusetts schools.
“As a member of the conference committee for this bond bill, I felt it paramount that we not only authorize capital investments for our district, but also maintain a strong focus on historically underserved and economically disadvantaged communities,” said Senator DiDomenico. “I am especially proud that this legislation includes the $5 million I worked to secure for the development of a MassHealth and SNAP common application portal so low-income families can more easily access the nutritional resources they need during these trying times. I am grateful to Representative Ryan for his partnership in securing local priorities for the residents of Chelsea and Charlestown and Senate President Karen Spilka for her leadership in in ensuring that our communities receive the support that we need.”
Said Rep. Dan Ryan, “I truly appreciate the work of my colleagues in the legislature, Speaker DeLeo, as well as the Governor for working collaboratively to bring vital resources to the Commonwealth’s IT infrastructure. As we continue to re-think our world and how we interact remotely, our children and most vulnerable citizens will have more opportunity to engage with the world through improved technology.”
“Now, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, more than ever, everyone realizes the importance of our information technology infrastructure,” said House Speaker Bob DeLeo. “These investments will strengthen the resilience of our state and help provide more equitable access to key services for our residents. I thank Governor Baker, Senate President Spilka, and my colleagues in the Legislature for their work on this important bill and commend Representative Ryan for his tireless work on behalf of his district.”
The bill specifically includes budgeted items directly benefitting Chelsea and Charlestown:
•$300,000 to public schools in Boston to provide increased broadband internet access.
•$2.25 million for technology resources at the Chelsea Senior Center and Veterans’ Services.
•$250,000 shall be expended for the community technology program in the city of Chelsea.
•$100,000 for the One Bead Project to expand technology for low-income families in Boston.
•$1.5 million shall be expended to address disparities in education, housing and small businesses in the city of Chelsea which negatively impact socially and economically disadvantaged communities including, but not limited to, communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the criminal justice system or by racial or ethnic prejudice or cultural bias.
The plan includes $660 million dedicated to state information technology needs, including $40 million in education grants to public schools to enhance remote learning environments and services.
The capital plan also includes the following:
•$798 million for state and local general technology infrastructure;
•$660 million for state information technology upgrades;
•$110 million in public safety infrastructure and equipment;
•$117 million for reinvestment in disproportionately impacted communities;
•$105 million in educational information technology and other capital projects;
•$65 million in housing and economic development grants;
•$37 million in food security grants;
•$30 million in public safety accountability technologies including body cameras and a race and ethnicity data sharing system; and
•$10 million to fund technology investments at community health centers.
The bill was signed into law by the Governor.