Somerville Transportation Equity Partnership (STEP) Transportation News
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July 02, 2013

Gov. Patrick rejects transportation finance proposal

Boston Globe: "Patrick proposes bigger gas tax in transit plan"
In rejecting the transportation financing measure the Legislature sent him, Patrick countered with a proposal to further increase the gas tax in 2017 if Massachusetts Turnpike tolls expire as scheduled...."I have said I would accept the Legislature’s $800 million a year as a big step forward, so long as that number is real. This bill does not achieve that," Patrick said.

WBUR: "Patrick Seeks Change In Transportation Bill"

Boston Magazine: "Gov. Patrick Shoots Down Latest Transportation Funding Proposal"

June 27, 2013

Legislature passes transportation funding, likely inadequate

Boston Globe: "State lawmakers approve transportation funding plan; Patrick threatens veto"
"State legislators have voted to approve a compromise transportation funding plan that will raise taxes to fund investment in the state’s transportation department, but Governor Deval Patrick said the amount raised by the bill is not enough."

June 14, 2013

State will design entire Community Path as part of Green Line Extension

Good news on the Community Path! During Tuesday's station design meeting about Washington St and Union Square, the Green Line Extension design team announced that they will design the entire Community Path extension all the way to NorthPoint in Cambridge. Previously, the State had committed to designing the Path only to Washington St. Keep reading for more details from Friends of the Community Path.

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May 30, 2013

STEP's letter to conference committee on transportation finance

Comments on H.3382, An Act relative to transportation finance

The Honorable Conference Committee Members:

I am writing as a citizen of the Commonwealth and as President of the Somerville Transportation Equity Partnership (STEP) to urge you to provide the full revenue needed to restore the Commonwealth's transportation system to a state of good repair, and to meet the critical maintenance needed on an ongoing basis so we do not face the same funding deficit in a couple of years. We strongly urge ending the practice of using bond funds to pay the salary of operating employees, and support providing sufficient funds for transportation expansion projects. Such projects are needed to maintain a competitive economic climate for the state and to serve our aging population with adequate transportation services.

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May 14, 2013

Groundbreaking for Community Path extension

Community Path groundbreaking

Many were on hand Monday to celebrate the extension from Cedar Street to Lowell Street. Construction is scheduled for completion in fall 2013.

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April 08, 2013

Tell legislators you want a real solution for transportation financing!

It is a critical time to let your legislators know that you want a real solution to the state's transportation finance situation to address current fiscal needs, meet needed Chapter 90 funds for cities and towns, address state of good repair needs, procure needed new equipment and fund the Green Line extension.

STEP has written the following letter, which anyone is more than welcome to use, modify, or add to.

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April 06, 2013

Great perspectives on the transportation funding challenge

Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance: "Half a loaf: the Legislature's transportation plan"
"I believed that we had the chance to set a visionary course for a post-Big Dig transportation system. It's like having the opportunity to invest in an exciting new business, but instead you just pay off one of your credit cards."

Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center: "The Joint Ways & Means Transportation Proposal"

Conservation Law Foundation: "MA Transportation Funding Framework: More (or really less) to the supposedly budget-minded proposal than meets the eye"
"The framework would not cover the maintenance of our transportation system, nor keep it in a state of good repair, let alone allow for any investment in modernization."

CommonWealth Magazine: "Fear and loathing on the tax trail"
"Census data show that, as a share of their income, Massachusetts residents pay an exceedingly average tax bill. The Bay State's overall tax bill falls squarely in the middle of the 50 states."

State Senator Pat Jehlen's newsletter
"I believe the Green Line Extension will be built anyway because it is legally required under the legal agreement between the state and Conservation Law Foundation to mitigate the Big Dig, and under the State Improvement Plan which is enforceable by the federal government under the Clean Air Act. But if we don't have an adequate plan to get to a state of good repair, the federal government will turn down our application for $550 million in federal New Starts money. As I told the Globe, that will leave the state to pick up the whole $1.3 billion tab, leaving little for other projects or other needed repairs."

April 02, 2013

State legislature puts forward "woefully inadequate" transportation funding plan

Boston Globe: "Mass. legislative leaders unveil $500m tax plan to shore up transportation system"
The plan, while it represents a significant tax increase, falls far short of the $1.9 billion tax hike that Governor Deval Patrick has been seeking and would not fund the major expansion of rail and road projects that the governor wants.

Kristina Egan, director of Transportation for Massachusetts, an advocacy group that had pushed for Patrick's funding plan, called the proposal "woefully inadequate." A lack of specific investments in capital projects, she said, was shortsighted and would prevent the state's transportation infrastructure from accommodating the needs of residents.

"We have an unprecedented opportunity to make a transportation fix for the next generation, and I'm worried that we're squandering it here," Egan said. "It feels like this package is locking in chronic underfunding."

Richard A. Dimino, president of A Better City, said the absence of capital projects in the legislature's $500 million bill would mean that the state would possibly lose out on federal money for projects like the Green Line extension that are dependent on matching funds from the state government.

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