Massachusetts transportation financing bill

WAMC

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick announced a milestone agreement today in the effort to bring high- speed passenger rail service to western Massachusetts.

Governor Patrick arrived in Greenfield onboard a train from North Adams to announce a tentative agreement to have the state purchase the rail line between East Northfield on the Vermont border and Springfield.  The 49-mile stretch is nearing the completion of a major restoration that will return passenger rail service to communities along the Connecticut River.

Jim Levulis / WAMC

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick was in Lee this morning to break ground on a road construction project.

CNR Changchun

Top executives from a Chinese rail car company were back in Springfield, Massachusetts today continuing to lay the groundwork for a factory to build subway cars for the MBTA.  Officials at a local college offered its school of engineering as a resource for the company.

 A decision on building the $30 million factory in Springfield will be made by the end of the year, as Chanchung Railway Vehicles awaits word on the awarding of a contract potentially worth up to $1.5 billion to supply hundreds of new subway cars for the MBTA.  Bids for the project are due by May 15th.

MassDOT

BOSTON (AP) — An ambitious five-year plan to upgrade the Massachusetts’ infrastructure includes billions of dollars for new MBTA trains, road and bridge repairs, and all-electronic tolling.

The $12.4 billion capital investment plan released by Gov. Deval Patrick's administration Friday is a blueprint only and there's no guarantee that all of the projects will go forward.

WAMC

State legislators in Massachusetts are working to write a transportation bond bill. Funding is being sought for a couple of major transportation projects in Springfield.

   The Pioneer Valley Transit Authority hopes to get state money to build a new maintenance and operations facility to replace a 100 –year- old former trolley barn that the administrator of the authority says is obsolete and too small to repair modern buses.  Also an urgent need is seen to begin work to replace the aging elevated section of Interstate 91 in downtown Springfield.  

Jim Levulis / WAMC

Western Massachusetts residents had a chance to weigh in on the proposed reinstatement of tolls on the westernmost portion of the Massachusetts Turnpike.

401(K) 2012/Flickr

Parts of a large tax bill enacted to pay for transportation needs in Massachusetts are now the focus of separate repeal efforts.  Petitions were filed with the Massachusetts attorney general today to begin a process that could put the repeal initiatives on the 2014 state election ballot.

       A coalition of more than 20 business leaders from some of the state’s biggest companies, including Staples Inc. and Boston Scientific, signed the petition that seeks repeal of the recent expansion of the state’s sales tax to computer software services.

Lucas Willard / WAMC

On Monday, Governor Patrick, Secretary of Transportation Richard Davey, and others boarded a train on the Housatonic Railroad and rode from the Connecticut border to Pittsfield.

The symbolic trip came after the governor had sought more than $1 billion in new revenues for transportation in his initial fiscal year 2014 budget proposal, a plan that contained dedicated funding for several priority projects, including $113 million for the rail expansion in Berkshire County.

Mass. Taxes On Gas, Cigarettes To Increase

Jul 29, 2013
wikipedia commons

Massachusetts consumers will soon be paying higher taxes for gasoline and cigarettes.

The state's gasoline tax jumps 3 cents on Wednesday, from 21 cents per gallon to 24 cents.

Smokers will also have to shell out more for a pack of cigarettes, with the excise tax jumping $1 from $2.51 per pack to $3.51 per pack.

Mass. Lawmakers Override Transportation Veto

Jul 25, 2013
wikipedia commons

Taxes on gasoline and cigarettes are set to increase after Massachusetts lawmakers voted to override Governor Deval Patrick's veto of a transportation financing bill.

The bill contains a 3 cent per gallon hike in the gas tax, along with a $1 per pack increase in the cigarette tax. Those tax hikes are scheduled to take effect in seven days.

Patrick vetoed the bill after lawmakers rejected his demand to add a provision allowing for an additional gas tax hike if tolls on the western portion of the Massachusetts Turnpike come down as scheduled in 2017.