BOSTON — The proposed regional justice center in downtown New Bedford made progress Tuesday as a House committee approved including it in a bond authorization bill.

The justice center was one of several projects added to the bill by state Rep. Antonio Cabral, D-New Bedford, chairman of the House Committee on Bonding, Capital Expenditures and State Assets that took up the bill.

“A regional justice center in downtown New Bedford will simultaneously improve access to justice and serve as an economic development stimulus for the city – a huge win for New Bedford,” said Cabral. “The inclusion of the New Bedford Court System in the first phase of the trial court’s plan fits well within its mission. Our city deserves a regional justice center that provides timely and safe access to justice and brings the system into the 21st century – we need it sooner rather than later.”

The plan to consolidate the New Bedford Housing Court, New Bedford Probate & Family Court, the New Bedford Superior Court and the New Bedford district and juvenile courts into a single courthouse was first proposed in 2015 by the Massachusetts Trial Court.

Bond authorizations finance operations or projects of public businesses. Massachusetts passes bond bills every five years to secure the funds businesses might need over the fiscal timeline.

The $123.5 million allocation for a new regional justice center amounts to the projected cost for construction as estimated by the Massachusetts Trial Court. If approved by the full House and Senate and signed by Gov. Charlie Baker, it would be up to the court administrator to implement a plan using the funds and determine priorities in the upcoming years.

Other authorizations aim to spark capital investment in the higher education and public safety.

Two feasibility studies would receive $1 million to explore the potential construction of a UMass Dartmouth Law School campus and a police and fire department headquarters.

“With a new regional justice center designated for downtown New Bedford, an accompanying UMass Dartmouth Law School facility could create a unique partnership between the school and the court system,” explained Cabral.

A general government bond bill will also authorize $1 million for a Cape Verdean Community Center in New Bedford.

Authorizations like these give cities and towns access to funds, but they still need to submit plans to the Office of Administration and Finance, essentially making an argument that those funds should be released for certain capital improvements.

The current bill contains reauthorizations for New Bedford, originally authorized in 2014, but not yet used, including funds for capital improvements at the Zeiterion and Orpheum theatres, renovations at the former Thompson Street School building and repairs at the Dennison Memorial Community Center.

“Investments in New Bedford’s arts and culture community have produced significant economic returns over the years,” said Cabral. “These authorizations prove our collective commitment to restoration efforts that make our City attractive to residents and tourists alike.”

The projects cleared the key legislative hurdle of making it through the House Committee on Ways and Means. The bill, with New Bedford’s authorizations, is expected to pass the House on Wednesday and the Senate early next year when the Legislature returns from break.