Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Statement on Transportation Finance Package

Today I released the following statement in response to the transportation financing package unveiled this morning by Senate President Therese Murray and House Speaker Robert DeLeo:

“The framework announced today by the Senate President and the Speaker makes it clear that there is no legislative appetite for the massive increases in taxing and spending proposed by the Governor, and brings focus to the task at hand of addressing troubling deficiencies in our state’s transportation infrastructure.  Yet today’s proposal focuses too narrowly on increased taxes, and relies too little on the strong reforms needed to ensure that taxpayer and ratepayer funds are invested in a system that is functional, reliable and not plagued by waste or abuse.

Too many requirements mandated by the 2009 Transportation Reform Act have at worst been blatantly ignored, or at best been too slow to produce results.  Billions of dollars in projected savings have gone unrealized, efforts to increase the efficiency and integrity of the system have gone unheeded, and opportunities to partner with the private sector have fallen by the wayside.  Our first priority should be on capturing the savings we’ve already demanded legislatively and promised to the taxpayers and ratepayers.

In the days ahead, Senate Republicans will work to populate the framework with needed and productive reforms that will emphasize savings and efficiencies to close the present and future funding gaps facing our transportation system.  New revenues for transportation cannot come from increasing the burden on working families, who are already feeling the pressure of living with the fourth highest per capita tax burden in the nation.  Increasing that burden should not be our first choice.

It’s clear that transportation is a priority for our residents.  They expect, demand, and deserve a better transportation system.  But we can’t achieve that goal by pursuing new revenues at the expense of needed reforms.  If we are serious about having a full and open debate on transportation funding, a good way to start that debate would be to hold public hearings on this latest proposal so the voices of the people can be heard.”