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Chamber Reaction to Future Ready Transportation Finance Bill

February 26, 2020

The Commonwealth’s transportation crisis desperately needs to be addressed and today’s House bill starts us on that path by recognizing that a future ready transportation system requires substantial investments. The Chamber applauds the leadership displayed by Speaker DeLeo in tackling this complex and politically sensitive issue.

Much of the House bill is forward looking and several aspects of the package align with what employers recognize is necessary: using pricing to influence behavior with the ultimate goal of getting cars off the road, improving public transit, and reducing emissions. In particular, the Chamber supports: the special commission on roadway and congestion pricing; TNC fee increases that use a tiered system, for shared, solo, and luxury riders; and a five-cent gas tax increase. The Chamber also supports efforts to ensure that residents across the state will benefit from the investments by keeping ride share revenue in the region where the ride originated and targeting funding to regional transit authorities.

Recent estimates identify state of good repair needs at roughly $20 billion for the state’s roads and public transit systems – and that is just to maintain existing assets. The state has also made several public commitments to expand and improve our transportation infrastructure that are unfunded and require billions to execute. These include major – and potentially transformative – projects such as the Allston I-90 Multi-Modal redesign ($1.1 billion), the Cape Cod Bridge projects ($1 billion), South Station expansion ($2 billion), the Springfield I-91 Viaduct ($695 million), and the statewide commuter rail system transformation ($29 billion). More troubling is the lack of funding to achieve existing public transit service improvement commitments including upgrades to bus maintenance facilities and reduced headways on the rapid transit lines.

Although we appreciate the Legislature’s work in tackling the complex challenge of transportation funding, the legislation includes a problematic $150 million increase in corporate minimum taxes. This is a troubling signal to business in a time when cities and states around the country are competing for jobs and economic growth. The Chamber urges the Legislature to reconsider this proposal in its debate.

Thank you to the Massachusetts House of Representatives for putting this proposal in play, taking the lead, being deliberative, and recognizing that it’s time for transportation change.

About the Greater Boston Chamber

We are the convener, voice and advocate of our region's business community, committed to making Greater Boston the best place for businesses and people to thrive. We help our members and Greater Boston succeed by convening and connecting the business community; researching, developing and advocating for public policies that contribute to our region’s economic success; and providing comprehensive leadership development programs designed to grow strong business and civic leaders. Learn more at BostonChamber.com.