Senate Vote on Leadership’s Revenue Proposal (JWM Transportation Financing)

Today, the Senate overwhelming voted for an improved revenue package for transportation.  The “yes” votes included those progressive Senators who have worked hard with their partners inside and outside the State House over the past week to improve the bill.   Right after the vote, progressive Senators  (Chang-Diaz, Clark, Donnelly, Eldridge, Montigny and Wolf) released a statement saying:

“Through both the work of the Senate Ways and Means Committee and the amendment process, the transportation finance bill passed by the Senate today reaches a level of revenue that allows for meaningful investments in a fiscally-sound, 21st century transportation system. It is for this reason that we vote yes on this bill today.

We look forward to the bill continuing to the joint House-Senate conference committee. Should the bill be reported out of the conference committee having lost the revenue gains we made, it will also lose our support. We are grateful to all of our partners in the legislature, the Governor, advocates, and constituents across the state for their tireless work in crafting solutions to one of the most pressing issues in our Commonwealth.”

While these improvements are notable, the bill still falls short.  As our colleagues in the transportation coalition said immediately before the vote:

“…it does not provide sufficient funding to move our transportation system into the 21st century. The bill’s revenue projections are too optimistic and the total funds insufficient. It will burden drivers and transit riders with unreasonable fare and toll hikes. It will take a long time to realize the revenues projected from the legislation, leading to further delays in important safety and public transportation investments.”

We urge the conference committee to do better and support progressive senators’ decision to withhold their backing should the bill that emerges from Conference Committee move us backward.

We remain disappointed that the legislature has not addressed the other revenue and investment needs of the Commonwealth specifically education and human services.  We hope that these needs will be addressed in the budget process in a progressive fashion.  While we recognize other social benefits for gas and cigarette taxes we remain concerned about their regressivity and disproportionate impact of low and middle income families.


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