BOSTON — Mayor Marty Walsh delivered his “State of the City” address at Symphony Hall on Tuesday night.
Promising a bold vision on his 7th year as mayor of Boston, Walsh said he will focus on three specific areas: housing, transportation and education.
In an interview to the Boston Globe on Tuesday, Walsh said the city will pledge “unprecedented” funding commitments to these core areas.
Walsh addressed the city’s achievements over the last six years, such as the creation of over 120,000 new jobs, over 10,000 low-income residents retaining better-paying jobs and the crime rate plummeting by nearly 30%.
In his address, Walsh announced the new investments for the Boston Public School system, breaking down a funding plan that will add $100 million in new revenue over the next three years for direct classroom funding.
Walsh also announced the city will be investing in universal pre-kindergarten, longer school days, English language learning, Special Education and more. Massachusetts currently ranks as #1 in pre-K through 12th grade education in the country.
A landmark education finance law will ensure the funds stay in schools by stopping the decline in state aid and adds new significant funding over the course of seven years.
The MBTA, after a year riddled with derailments, delays and other issues, is a hot topic Walsh is doubling down on.
“We are moving forward to push for world-class transportation for our city,” Walsh said in his prepared speech. Not only will Walsh also address the new efforts to reduce congestion and improve transportation in the city, he mentioned the city’s Vision Zero initiative, which has cut fatalities on the road by half.
On the topic of transportation, Walsh talked about infrastructure repair work being done on over 30 miles of local roads, as well as repainting crosswalks, rebuilding sidewalks, installing more safety signage across the city and improving bike connections.
A plan to strengthen traffic enforcement is also in the works, Walsh said.
Finally, Walsh touched on the housing issue in the city, pledging to dedicate $500 million over the next five years to create thousands of affordable homes for families with low to middle incomes. Affordable housing will also receive $100 million in funding as the city increases its operating and capital budgets to double the current funding.
For the first time in the city’s history, Mayor Walsh announced his administration’s plan to issue city-funded rental vouchers to subsidize rent where it’s most needed.
Additional revenue will be generated by selling the Lafayette Garage downtown and working to approve a transfer tax passed last month.
Acknowledging the high cost of living in the city, Walsh assured the current strategy in place is working, saying rent and home prices have slowly stabilized over time.
Diversity was also a big part of the mayor’s speech, where Walsh elaborated on the city’s ongoing efforts to “make Boston’s workforce representative of its people." As he wrapped up his speech with a standing ovation, Walsh condemned racism, bigotry, xenophobia and homophobia, calling for “a city united and strengthened by our values.”
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