Schools, economic equity, infrastructure and public safety prioritized in third State of the City Address
Mayor Martin J. Walsh tonight delivered his third State of the City address at Symphony Hall, sharing historic progress in broadening economic opportunity, keeping Boston accessible for all residents, and expanding opportunities to high-quality education. In his address, Mayor Walsh reaffirmed his commitment to lead "a city that lifts everyone as it rises," and announced plans to invest in new and existing schools, allocate more money for affordable housing and open space, upgrade infrastructure to fix traffic and double down on community-driven public safety.
"Because of our work together, Boston is stronger than it has ever been in our history," Mayor Walsh said. "We are a city that believes every single person deserves an equal chance to thrive and, when we stand together, there's nothing we can't achieve."
Investing Equitably in Public Education, Eliminating the Opportunity Gap
In his remarks, Mayor Walsh stated that public schools are the foundation of equal opportunity and recalled barriers that faced students as recently as three years ago, including lack of pre-kindergarten seats, the shortest school day in the country and aging school facilities. Since 2014, the Walsh Administration successfully prioritized expanded access to high-quality education by extending the school day in 57 schools serving over 23,000 students, investing in hundreds more pre-kindergarten seats across the city and launching a free college tuition program for BPS students at Bunker Hill, Roxbury and Mass Bay Community Colleges.
In his address, the Mayor announced:
$1 billion investment in new schools to support BuildBPS, the unprecedented school facilities master planning process that will help transform school buildings in every neighborhood into state-of-the-art educational facilities.
Comprehensive legislation to bring an estimated $35 million of increased investment in education to Boston by fixing the charter school finance model and fully funding the cost of educating the highest need students.
Legislative proposal to eliminate the opportunity gap in early childhood education by offering high-quality, free pre-kindergarten for every four-year-old for the first time in Boston's history by redirecting existing tax revenue produced in Boston back to its residents.
Bringing Opportunity to the Entire City
A comprehensive effort by the Walsh Administration to create jobs and broaden opportunity for all residents has resulted in an additional 60,000 jobs and cut the unemployment rate to 2.4%, the lowest on record. A record 7,400 homes were built for low and middle income families and 1,052 formerly homeless were housed and provided the services they need to succeed.
Proposing $100 million from the sale of the Winthrop Square Garage downtown to revitalize public housing in East Boston and South Boston; to improve Franklin Park and Boston Common, and to complete the original plan for the Emerald Necklace.
Bringing library services back to the Chinatown neighborhood, located at the China Trade Center, which will provide services such as computer access, book-checkouts and educational support.
Making the entire 8-mile Fairmount Line a jobs corridor with affordable housing.
Filing legislation this week to protect residents from displacement.
Making a Stronger, Safer City through Community
Mayor Walsh is committed to creating safer neighborhoods by doubling down on community-driven public safety strategy. Since 2014, violent crime is down 9%, property crime is down 16% and arrests are down 25%. Last year, shootings were down 6%, which is a drop of 16% from the 10-year average. In an effort to increase diversity, Mayor Walsh funded the return of the Police Cadet program, with 70% people of color, 33% women and 100% Boston residents in the first class.
Creating Neighborhood Trauma Teams in Roxbury, Dorchester, Mattapan, East Boston and Jamaica Plain to coordinate immediate response and sustained recovery for all those affected in the aftermath of violence.
Upgrading Infrastructure to Fix Traffic
Safe and reliable modes of transportation are key to a strong economy. To address traffic challenges, Mayor Walsh has upgraded Uphams Corner, broke ground on a redesigned Commonwealth Avenue from Brighton to Allston to Fenway, and focused on completing Central Square in East Boston.
Secured $300 million to address traffic challenges citywide and working with residents to transform traffic flow.
Cutting-edge traffic-light technology to Boston's busiest streets that will allow for adjusted signal timing at intersections based on real-time traffic conditions and result in fewer stops at red lights, less traffic congestion and reduced emissions.
Called for a comprehensive, fully-funded plan to move the T into the 21st century with better commuter rail service, bus routes and dependable trains.