Friday, April 13, 2012

The Massachusetts Senate Passes Transportation Reforms

The Senate’s actions yesterday offered good news for our cities and towns and represent a step forward in addressing some of the Commonwealth’s most pressing transportation needs. Not only does the Transportation Bond Bill authorize $200 million in Chapter 90 funding for municipal road projects for our cities and towns, but it also encompasses several important transportation reforms championed by the Senate Republican Caucus, including:

     • Requiring the Secretary of Transportation to maximize efforts to reduce the use of capital funding to pay for state employee’s salaries, a practice that is costing taxpayers an additional $100 million to $125 million a year, and to develop a timeline for moving these employees’ salaries on to their agencies’ operating budgets by December 31, 2014;

     • Requiring the MBTA to file a report detailing its efforts to become more self-sufficient and less reliant on state subsidies and fare increases; and

     • Prohibiting the authority from expanding services until it has a plan in place to pay for those services and can certify that existing services will not be adversely impacted.

We are hopeful the House of Representatives and Governor Patrick will embrace these worthy proposals, and we look forward to exploring additional avenues for enacting much-needed reforms this session.