Building Boston: Capital Plan FY21-25

City Bond Sales and Grant Funds to Advance Imagine Boston

Boston’s $3.0B FY21-25 capital plan, unanimously adopted by the City Council in June, advances ambitious infrastructure investments in Imagine Boston 2030, the citywide master plan. The five-year plan is an increase of $216.1M (7.7%) from the FY20-24 capital plan. The City estimates that capital spending from all sources will total $447.3 million in FY21. A combination of city borrowing and external grants are budgeted to fund 333 new and ongoing projects.

Capital Spending Top 5 Departments

Department Budget % of total
 Public Works $94 0,326,204 31.3%
 Boston Public Schools $618,173,115 20.6%
 Parks and Recreation $333,455,468 11.1%
 Property Management $195,333,773 6.5%
 Transportation $187,347,790 6.2%
 Subtotal $2,274,636,350 75.6%
 All Other Departments $732,445,733 24.4%
 Total $3,007,081,483 100.0%

Capital Spending by Department
The majority of capital spending (75.6%) is concentrated in Public Works, Boston Public Schools (BPS), Parks and Recreation, Property Management and Transportation.

Almost a third (31.3%, or $940.3M) of the capital plan funds Public Works projects. This combined with $187.3M for Transportation projects make up 37.5% of the capital plan ($1.1B out of $3.0B). This capital plan reflects at least five new projects to advance infrastructure goals of Go Boston 2030, the City’s long-term transportation plan.

The BPS capital budget totals $618.2M, or 20.6% of the five-year plan. These funds will go towards various school renovations and repairs as part of the City’s long-term school rebuilding program, BuildBPS. The FY21-25 plan includes $221.7M for BuildBPS projects–an additional $68.9M over the $152.8M in the previous five-year plan. The City also projects $84.2M for facilities improvements through partnership with the Massachusetts School Building Authority’s Accelerated Repair Program (ARP). Slightly more than half of the ARP projects ($45.6M) are projected to be funded through state grants.

Capital Spending by Project Type
The FY21 Capital Budget allocates 46% of funds to improvement of existing assets such as equipment upgrades, 35% for new/major renovations such as facilities or extending the useful life of older assets, 17% for upkeep of assets from roof repairs to sidewalk repairs not covered in routine maintenance and 2% for matching fund requirements and planning projects.

Capital Plan Funding Sources   General Obligation (GO) bonds will fund 67.6% of the five-year capital plan, with the remaining $974.4M funded through a combination of state and federal grants and external funding. To meet its near-term debt obligations, the City’s total debt service in FY21 is expected to be $189.1M, up just $2.7M or 1.4% over FY20. This relatively small increase is in large part due to the delay of the 2020 bond sale, which pushes $16.5M in principal payments into FY22.  In FY21, debt service is estimated to be 5.2% of the operating budget—level with FY19 and FY20, and below the City’s 7% ceiling on debt payments as a percent of the operating budget. The City expects to remain below the 7% limit through FY25.

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