Thursday, May 2, 2013

Statement on Chapter 90 Funding

Today I released the following statement after the Senate engrossed a transportation finance proposal allocating $300 million in Chapter 90 road and bridge funding for Massachusetts’ cities and towns, an increase of $100 million over last year’s total:

"Now that the House and Senate have given initial approval to an increase in Chapter 90 funding, it is imperative that the Legislature move expeditiously to finalize this proposal and approve a terms bill so this money can be made readily available for our cities and towns to capture the widest possible window of the construction season.  We are long past the April 1st deadline for communities to be notified of their preliminary funding allocation, and it is important that we honor this financial commitment as soon as possible.

While we continue to move forward, I’m concerned that Governor Patrick has repeatedly asserted that we can’t afford to increase Chapter 90 levels to $300 million unless we approve his $1.9 billion plan to raise taxes.  He has gone so far as to warn communities that without his massive tax increases, ‘investment in the Chapter 90 program will not be implemented’.

Clearly, the House and Senate believe that the $300 million can be implemented without resorting to a tax increase of the order or magnitude the Governor has requested.  The reality is, the House and Senate are already in the process of finalizing an alternative transportation proposal in conference committee, and the Governor’s $1.9 billion tax increase is no longer under consideration.  Therefore, it is my hope the Governor will not hold this critical bill hostage to a larger tax proposal that is no longer viable.”