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Gov. Baker Proposes $1.1B in IT Upgrades in Massachusetts

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker filed legislation Thursday calling for a sweeping investment in the commonwealth’s IT and cybersecurity infrastructure. As much as $135 million would be dedicated to improving cybersecurity.

by Steph Solis / April 12, 2019
Shutterstock/Christopher Boswell

(TNS) — Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker filed legislation on Thursday to spend $1.1 billion in capital projects for information technology upgrades across the commonwealth.

More than half of the funding, about $600 million, would go toward improving IT systems related to health care, housing, education, public safety and the state’s background records checks, among other areas, according to a news release from Secretary of Administration and Finance Michael J. Heffernan. About $135 million alone accounts for upgrades to the commonwealth’s cybersecurity system and $105 million is for modernizing the digital and telecommunications systems.

“It is critically important that the commonwealth make these capital investments to strengthen defenses against cyberthreats and continue modernizing and securing our digital assets,” Baker said in a statement. “This bill will also help us to partner with local agencies and provide additional capital support to better serve the residents of Massachusetts.”

The governor’s bill proposes investments in technological improvements at the municipal level. It sets aside $30 million for a municipal IT grant program, $20 million for grants to install fiber-optic technology in municipal buildings and $5 million for grants updating WIFI and internet at schools.

About $82.5 million would fund replacement police cruisers, and $20 million in capital funding would go to the Department of Correction and other public safety agencies, according to the news release.

The bill proposes $35 million for the Department of Fire Services, in addition to the $3.2 million funding set aside in operating costs in Baker’s 2020 budget plan. This would fund a new firefighter equipment grant and capital projects such as a proposed Southeastern fire training facility in Bridgewater, which is expected to reduce the department’s training backlog.

Baker also proposed spending $100 million for the construction of libraries, $25 million for Housing Choice grants and $10 millions for the Massachusetts Office on Disability’s Municipal American Disabilities Act grant program. That grant supports projects to improve accessibility for people with disabilities.

©2019, Springfield, Mass. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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