Full statement: Statement on Transportation Finance Bill 6-26-13
STATEMENT BY TRANSPORTATION FOR MASSACHUSETTS DIRECTOR KRISTINA EGAN ON THE TRANSPORTATION FINANCE BILL
Transportation for Massachusetts thanks the legislature for its work on reforms and new revenue to address the needs of our transportation system. The bill makes important changes to the way that transportation is funded, tying transportation funding more closely to transportation-related sources of revenue, and reversing many of the fiscally imprudent practices that have plagued MassDOT. It increases communication between the Administration and the Legislature and transparency for the public.
The legislation released from conference committee yesterday is a positive step forward, but there is more to be done. The new funding for transportation – averaging $600 million per year — will help close yearly budget shortfalls. What’s left over will begin to chip away at our significant maintenance backlog and will make a down-payment on some important transportation projects. While the bill is a significant infusion of funding, it falls short of the $1 billion per year that experts agree is needed to stabilize our transportation finances, maintain our existing network, and build projects that will bring economic growth and prosperity to every corner of the commonwealth.
We remain concerned that the revenue projections anticipated in the bill may be too optimistic, and that some of the anticipated funding might not materialize. Specifically, the revenue and savings targets mandated for transportation agencies are steep, and failure to meet them will likely to trigger harmful cuts to public transit or defer maintenance on our roads and bridges. Also, the bill does not address the possible end of tolls on the Western Turnpike in 2017 which would reduce transportation funding by $135 million per year, on average.
As the Senate President said in April, today’s bill should not be seen as a solution, but rather a foundation for continued work towards the public transportation, roads, sidewalks and bikeways that will provide mobility and economic opportunity to every resident of the Commonwealth and will support a 21st century economy. We thank the legislature for taking this important step and look forward to working together to continue to address our transportation challenges in the years to come.