The Somerville Transportation Equity Partnership is writing you to urge you to VOTE NO on Ballot Question 1 on Election Day, November 4, 2014. By voting no you want the legislation passed in 2013 indexing the gas tax to inflation to remain in effect.
After many years of advocacy and terrific community support, Somerville is benefiting from major transportation improvements. The new Orange Line station at Assembly Square is open. While the MBTA and MassDOT are committed to extend the Green Line Extension and Community Path these projects could be delayed or even jeopardized if the Commonwealth does not have a stable source of funding for transportation infrastructure.
For Somerville residents voting NO on Question 1 will help ensure that the state has enough funds to:
- Maintain the new Orange Line Station at Assembly Square
- Complete construction of the Green Line Extension and Community Path
- Providing the city with adequate funds for maintaining Somerville roads and bridges.
The Massachusetts gas tax is a significant and stable source of funding for public transportation, roads and bridges. Having a stable source of funding enables the Commonwealth and its cities and towns to do long term planning to maintain our transportation infrastructure in a state of good repair. The cost of fixing roads and bridges and maintaining transit vehicles and tracks goes up every year, so indexing the gas tax to inflation keeps funding up to date with cost increases. Gas tax revenue can only be spent on transportation.
Sixteen states, including Massachusetts, set their gas tax to either increase with inflation or the price of gas to keep up with the rising costs of fixing, maintaining, and improving roads and bridges and public transportation. There are TV ads accusing elected officials of shirking their responsibility, but the reality is that last year legislators came up with indexing the gas tax to take the politics out of transportation funding.
Over many years, insufficient transportation funding has delayed replacement of Red Line and Orange Line cars, resulted in poor road conditions and unsafe bridges across the Commonwealth. We can’t keep pushing the problem down the road.
Transportation is a public good that everyone whether a transit user, pedestrian, driver, or bicyclist uses. Good roads and transit also support the growth of our economy. But, it is not free. Taxpayers across Massachusetts are willing to pay more to fix, maintain, and improve roads, bridges, and public transit. The MassINC Polling Group has found that… Inflation erodes the value of the gas tax. Before the recent adjustment of 3¢ per gallon, the gas tax was last adjusted 22 years ago. At that time, it was 21¢ per gallon which is only worth 12¢ today. Even with the 3¢ increase Massachusetts’ gas tax still ranks 26th in the nation.
For more information about this critical ballot question and to make a contribution to the effort go to saferoadsbridges.com. If you want to volunteer to support this effort please email email@example.com.
Ellin Reisner, President
Somerville Transportation Equity Partnership