The $500 million tax bill approved this week by the Massachusetts House to fund transportation should address the immediate financial needs of the state’s 14 regional transit authorities. But advocates for public transportation say it is a regressive approach that does not meet the demand for more bus and train service.
The transportation funding plan unveiled by Democratic leaders in the Massachusetts state legislature has been met with a mixed response, with Democratic Governor Deval Patrick threatening to veto the plan if certain objectives aren’t met and House Republicans criticizing the plan for raising taxes without making other reforms to government.
And lawmakers in the Berkshires seem to be equally as divided on supporting the plan introduced by House Speaker Robert Deleo and Senate President Therese Murray, both Democrats, last week.
A new report by Massachusetts think-tank MassINC shows a significant economic impact from the lack of adequate public transportation available in Gateway Cities.
The report released this week titled “Reinventing Transit: Investing in Public Transportation for Strong Gateway Cities Economies” reveals that the inadequate public transportation systems in place in mid-size, post-industrial cities in the commonwealth not only hinder workers, but also contribute to below-average labor force participation.