Transportation Finance Conference Committee

June 26, 2013                                              

Boston – Senator Richard J. Ross (R-Wrentham) voted against legislation that will increase taxes by $500 million to fund the Commonwealth’s transportation system. A conference committee was charged with resolving the differences between bills passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives in April. The Senate voted to pass the legislation.

“The excessive tax increases included in this legislation will impose additional hardships on the hardworking citizens of Massachusetts who continue to struggle to make ends meet,” said Senator Ross. “It is irresponsible to rely so heavily on new taxes to finance our transportation system before looking to instituting reforms and eliminating waste in our current system.”

The bill will increase the gas tax by 3 cents per gallon and subsequent increases will be tied to inflation. The legislation also increases the tax on cigarettes by $1 per pack and imposes the 6.25% sales tax on computer system design services. The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (DOT) is also charged with studying and developing a plan to institute various tolls in the Commonwealth, including on the state borders. Revenue will be utilized to fund immediate transportation needs, as well as future expansions.

In April, the Senate Republican Caucus offered an alternative plan which would have raised revenue for transportation and education priorities through reform and pre-existing sources, without relying on raising taxes and fares. The plan also would have directed DOT to focus on existing transportation and financial needs before instituting any expansion or development projects. The caucus also sought to attain a projected $6 billion in savings by implementing mandates of the 2009 Transportation Reform Act that thus far have not been utilized.

Please contact the office of Senator Ross with any questions or concerns at (617) 722-1555 or Richard.Ross@masenate.gov.

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