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Massachusetts Sets $1.4 Billion for Transportation

Massachusetts lawmakers agreed to spend $1.39 billion on transportation projects, including roads, bridges and rail improvements, in the waning hours of the 2012 legislative session.

The bill was sent to Governor Deval Patrick, a Democrat, for approval today after passing the Legislature as its formal session wound down yesterday. It lists dozens of specific projects, known as earmarks.

“There are many good things, earmarks that members indicated as preferences within their districts on both sides,” state Representative William Straus, a Mattapoisett Democrat and the head of the Joint Transportation Committee, told State House News Service.

The bill authorizes $685.3 million of borrowing, which will be matched by federal support, Heather Friedmann, a research director for the joint committee on transportation, said by e-mail. A copy of the bill posted on the Legislature’s website shows projects range from $225 million in highway spending to $150,000 for the Yankee Doodle Bike Path from Billerica to the Bedford town line, about 20 miles northwest of Boston.

Lawmakers also passed a bill seeking to save $200 billion in health-care costs over 15 years. Patrick has said he would sign the measure.

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