House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. released the following statement today in response to the passing of the Transportation Reform bill:
While my Republican colleagues and I don’t necessarily always see eye to eye with our Democratic counterparts in the House on the role of government, we all agree that providing an efficient transportation system is not only a priority but a necessity. Today, our message of reform first resonated in the House and the proof is in the passing of this Transportation Reform Bill and the adoption of many GOP amendments.
Included in those adopted amendments is a proposal that would save the Commonwealth hundreds of millions of dollars over the next 20 years. The effort paves the way for the Commonwealth to pay Mass Highway employees through the state’s operating budget as opposed to the current practice of using borrowed money to fund salaries. The Transportation Finance Commission recently dubbed a very similar proposal as the second largest identified reform.
As these reforms are put into place, we hope that any further discussion of increasing revenue will be taken off the table, as we must give time for these changes to be implemented. The many problems facing the state’s transportation system did not happen overnight, and unfortunately, they will not disappear that quickly either. We must allow these reforms an opportunity to succeed. Today, Republicans and Democrats alike worked in a bipartisan manner to restore the public’s confidence in the Legislature’s ability to put the needs of its constituents before party politics.
The bill passed today by the House and the Senate’s bill passed last month will now go to conference committee. I hope the final version will maintain the tough language and comprehensive reforms proposed by both Chambers.