The Commonwealth's transportation infrastructure is facing severe fiscal crisis for reasons both prior to and compounded by the current global recession. Because of this fact, our transportation system is in crisis in its own right. That's why, as part of the Senate’s Fiscal Year 2010 (FY10) budget, I voted in favor of raising the gas tax twice, on two separate amendments.
While I understand the impact the gas tax will have on every family, I have heard a tremendous amount of support for this revenue source as an alternative to toll and fare increases, both from my district and from residents throughout Boston. The gas tax is the most fair and equitable way to generate the revenue needed to reduce the state’s transportation debt, fix our crumbling roads and bridges, prevent MBTA fare hikes, prevent Turnpike toll increases, and to fund long-delayed capital improvement projects throughout the state. With this revenue to fix our crumbling infrastructure, the state could also generate considerable construction jobs for Massachusetts residents.
While both attempts to raise the gas tax in the FY10 budget debate failed, I believe this issue will come before the Legislature again in the future because we have not fully solved the Commonwealth’s transportation needs in a sustainable way. Our transportation infrastructure is integral to the state’s economic development prospects, as well as to residents’ jobs access and quality of life. I remain committed to supporting the revenues necessary to honestly confront these long term issues.