House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R- North Reading), Representative Steven S. Howitt (R-Seekonk), ranking Republican on the Joint Committee on Transportation, and Representative Peter Durant (R-Spencer) are joined by their House Republican colleagues in proposing an alternative transportation finance bill – free from any statewide tax increases.
“The House Republican Caucus has repeatedly stated that transportation is a core government function, and agrees that there is a daunting problem looming before our transportation agencies,” said Representative Jones. “However, through the targeted use of surplus revenue and meaningful cost-saving reforms, the Commonwealth will be able to provide a transportation system that its citizens have come to expect – and deserve.”
The plan, offered by the House Republican Caucus, comes on the heels of transportation finance proposals submitted by Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Therese Murray as well as Governor Deval Patrick’s plan of close to $2 billion in additional revenue. However, unlike previous proposals which rely heavily on tax revenue, the legislation offered by House Republicans forgoes any attempt to raise taxes on Massachusetts’ residents.
To solve the Commonwealth’s transportation finance dilemma, the House Republicans’ plan will dedicate a portion of new tax revenue growth to be allocated to transportation needs. Additionally, the Republican Caucus’ proposal will create a new budgetary benchmark to maintain the revenue stream.
“This is a well thought out approach which will strike a balance between Massachusetts’ budgetary needs and the needs of the state’s transportation system,” said Representative Howitt. “The House Republicans’ plan provides the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority the necessary financial support without placing a revenue strain on the state’s hardworking taxpayers.”
While the House Republicans appreciate the value of budgetary growth, the Caucus also understands that reforms within the current paradigm of state government are necessary. As such, the comprehensive transportation finance package will, in part, both repeal the Pacheco Law and eliminate pricey Project Labor Agreements. In doing so, the Commonwealth is poised to save millions of dollars each year – money which stands to fund transportation and infrastructure projects around Massachusetts.
“State government desperately needs to take a ‘reform before revenue’ approach when it comes to solving Massachusetts’ transportation deficiencies,” said Representative Durant. “By eliminating archaic government practices, the Commonwealth stands to save millions of dollars, which can in turn be used to improve the state’s transportation system.”