Over the summer, we are highlighting aspects of our Shared Prosperity Agenda. Our members are sharing their experiences and expertise on Education, Healthcare, Housing, Jobs and Wages, and Progressive Revenue.
This week we are focusing on Jobs -- Within five years, every job in Massachusetts should pay at least $15/hour, and everyone should have access to safe, affordable transportation; a good first step would be an increased minimum wage, indexed to inflation, and earned sick time.
A good transportation system drives our economy. We need choices about how we get to work, school, and job training, and employers of all sizes need to be able to move people and goods efficiently and effectively.
Consider these facts: every $1 billion we invest in transportation infrastructure supports 36,000 jobs. And every $10 million we invest in public transportation generates $30 million in increased business sales.
I don’t know about your portfolio, but most investments I read about don’t have a 3:1 rate of return in job creation and economic development. But transportation does!
Last year, the legislature voted to increase investments in our entire transportation system with the passage of a transportation financing bill that raised the gas tax for the first time in 22 years. The legislation also indexed the gas tax to inflation, which ensures that we will able to keep pace with rising costs, and continue to get a good return on our transportation investment, with improved economic opportunities, more jobs, and safer roads and bridges.
But this November, Massachusetts voters will have to choose whether they want to support an improved economy and safer roads and bridges, or they want to let our state’s infrastructure slide into dangerous disrepair.
Question 1 on the ballot would repeal the law that allows the Commonwealth to index the gas tax to inflation, putting a billion dollars worth of repairs and investment at risk.
We have a long way to go to get the transportation system we want in Massachusetts. Consider these troubling facts:
- According to the Federal Highway Administration, more than half of all bridges in the state are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete – ranging us second-worst among the 50 states.
- The ten busiest structurally deficient bridges in the state carry more than one million cars every day.
- Roadway conditions are a significant factor in one-third of all traffic fatalities in Massachusetts, and motor vehicle crashes cost Massachusetts $6.3 billion a year in medical and other costs.
Simply put, we can’t afford not to invest in transportation.
Question 1 would jeopardize $1 billion in transportation investments, meaning that our roads and bridges will continue to deteriorate, and losing us millions of dollars in improved economic activity. We can’t afford to threaten the safety and security of Massachusetts drivers and transit riders and their families.
So this November, say NO to unsafe roads and bridges and vote NO on Question 1. Learn more about our work with the Committee for Safer Roads and Bridges here: www.saferoadsbridges.com and follow us on Twitter @VoteNoOnQ1
Sign our petition for Jobs and Transportation here.