Proposed Five-Year Capital Plan Totals $1.9 Billion

City plans to increase borrowing and apply other city revenues to expand its capital program

The five-year capital plan (FY17‐FY21) submitted as part of Mayor Walsh’s FY17 recommended budget on April 11th totals $1.91B, an increase of $126.6M or 7.1% over this year’s five-year plan. The proposed plan includes 324 new and continuing projects and proposes $212.4M in new project authorization. This plan is intended to align with Imagine Boston 2030, the City’s comprehensive planning effort, and the ten-year school facilities master plan being developed. Seven departments account for 88% of the total capital plan over the next five fiscal years.

Capital Funding
Sale of General Obligation (GO) bonds are planned to fund 66.6% of all project costs with the balance coming from state (11.4%), federal (16.0%) and other (6.0%) revenue sources. Over the next five years, GO borrowings will expand by 10.7% to support increased capital spending for school, parks, library and street projects. Total debt service is expected to rise by 23% over this time, from $164.5M in FY16 to $202.7M in FY21, but will remain below the City’s debt standard of 7% of the operating budget. In FY17, debt service will represent 6.0% of the operating budget, up from 5.8% this year.

With its high bond ratings and low interest rates, the Research Bureau has encouraged the City to raise its debt service costs up to the 7% standard. Future school projects will require no less.

Expand GO Impact
This five-year capital budget enables the City to maximize the use of GO funding and reserve funding capacity for future school building projects by utilizing available non-bond revenues. One-time revenues from the Surplus Property Disposition Fund, proceeds from the sale of the Haywood Place parcel earmarked for the Quincy Upper School, and snow removal surplus revenue are applied to one-time capital expenses in this budget. Revenue from the Parking Meter Fund will support a portion of the Northern Avenue Bridge project. The budget also reserves $70M of funding capacity for major school renovation initiatives that will be recommended in the ongoing school master facility planning process.

Capital Funding by Department

FY17-FY21, $ in millions




Public Works















Property Management



Innovation & Technology






Total* $1,913.98 100.0%

* Total does not add due to rounding

The School Department has contracted with Symmes Maini & McKee Associates (SMMA) to complete a ten-year master facilities plan that is expected to be complete in January 2017. The SMMA report will present a capital investment plan to meet 21st Century educational and programmatic requirements of schools in Boston with demographic projections. This work is not expected to directly address issues such as excess capacity and grade configuration options. Recent budgetary challenges in the BPS highlight the need to address these issues and realign the District’s facility structure with its student population.

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