A report released by MassINC on Wednesday, October 26th called for potential new tax revenue through a payroll or vehicle miles tax to fund regional transportation projects.
Almost 100 people, including Representatives of the Boston Carmen’s Union ATU Local 589, packed a forum where the report was reviewed and listened to Lt. Governor Tim Murray and Mass DOT Secretary Richard Davey discuss the state’s transportation situation.
Local 589 President John Lee and Vice President Jim O’Brien attended the breakfast event in downtown Boston to listen and react to the report “Moving Forward With Funding – New strategies to support transportation and balanced regional economic growth.
While agreeing with MassINC, Lt. Governor Murray, Secretary Davey and State Senate Transportation Chair Tom McGee that public transit generates jobs, Local 589 expressed concern about a regional tax approach to funding future projects.
“It seems premature to discuss expansion when the state is unable to provide funding to maintain and upgrade existing services,” President Lee told the forum crowd. “The MBTA was saddled with a massive debt that continues to create funding problems. With the US Congress threatening to cut federal transit funds, we agree that revenue is badly needed on the state level. However, Local 589 members are keeping 35 year-old equipment operating well passed its shelf life and are keeping the system that is the engine for our state’s economy moving. The first priority should be to fund the MBTA before breaking out regions.”
Among the panel who discussed the proposals were Senator McGee, Tim Brennan, Executive Director of the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, James Corless, National Director of Transportation for America and Travis McCready, Executive Director of the Kendall Square Association.