The Massachusetts House of Representatives is set to debate legislation to reform and revitalize transportation in Massachusetts. The T4MA coalition thanks the Representatives whose important work will be discussed and decided this week. Here's a brief summary of where we are, and what is on the table.
The House introduced two bills last Wednesday: H4508 is the House transportation revenue bill, and H4506 is the House version of the Governor’s transportation bond bill, authorizing new transportation spending.
Debate is scheduled for this Wednesday (3/4) on H4508 (Revenue), and Thursday (3/5) for H4506 (Bond Bill) and could spill into Friday. Debate will be streamed at malegislature.gov.
Our coalition is encouraging people to participate in direct advocacy from Monday morning through Wednesday morning using this link: t4ma.org/takeaction.
After the House votes these bills, the Senate will take them up with its own process. All action on these bills, including either the Governor’s signature or an override of a veto, must occur before July 31st, 2020.
Transportation Revenue Bill
The House bill proposes a small, five-cent increase in the State gasoline tax, and a nine cent increase in the diesel fuel tax. It increases fees charge for ride hailing services (Uber/Lyft), with incentives for shared rides. In addition, the legislation closes a rental car sales tax loophole, and raises revenue through changes to the Corporate Minimum Tax. The House bill creates a commission to explore solutions to our worst-in-the-nation roadway congestion. These are all good ingredients for solving our transportation crisis. The legislation also proposes to reduce the gas tax to offset possible increases in fuel prices through the Transportation and Climate Initiative.
Our statement on this legislation:
February 26, 2020 -- We thank the House for their leadership on addressing our statewide transportation crisis. This proposal is a step forward and enables new, needed investments, including dedicating funding to public transit across the Commonwealth. We look forward to this proposal advancing through the legislative process, where we will work to strengthen the final bill to further advance equitable and efficient transportation for all Massachusetts residents.
In the upcoming debate, we encourage State Representatives to raise urgently needed new revenue to solve our transportation crisis, to tackle our urgent climate and congestion challenges, and to serve the interests of the entire state by investing in better transportation choices.
A number of amendments will be debated on the floor of the House this week. In general, T4MA supports amendments that raise or retain revenue for our transportation system. We oppose amendments that would reduce available revenue for investment.
While there are many worthy amendments that members will debate, our top three priorities are amendments that strengthen the Transportation & Climate Initiative (TCI), reduce congestion through roadway pricing, and provide tools to cities and towns through regional ballot initiatives (RBIs). These amendments include:
- TCI: Amendments to H4508 #32 and #37 (Rep. Ciccolo)
- Congestion: Amendments to H4508 #12 (Rep. Peisch) and #81 (Rep. Madaro)
- RBIs: Amendment #273 to H4506 (Rep. Vargas) and Amendment #38 to H4508 (Rep. Pignatelli)
We strongly support new revenue to improve transportation all across Massachusetts. In particular, we believe it is important to raise revenue that is directly tied to transportation and that encourages fewer vehicle miles traveled, reduces carbon emissions, encourages public transportation, walking, and cycling, and reduces roadway congestion.
We support investments that include expanded Regional Transit Authority service, accelerated investment in public transit, complete streets and safer biking and walking routes, and getting our roads and bridges into a state of good repair.
You can read about our policy priorities here.
Please Take Action!
To make it easy for constituents to contact their State Representative, T4MA uses an online tool that takes just a few minutes to complete, and may be customized to reflect individual priorities. Please use this link to let your State Reps know that We Can Fix This.