SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - The battle over the budget is heating up at the State House and the I-91 highway project is causing controversy.
The legislature and the Governor are proposing two very different transportation packages and one representative is upset the Governor said I-91 in Springfield won't get fixed under their plan.
Chicopee State Representative Joe Wagner has some harsh words for the Governor after he talked about the I-91 reconstruction project not happening under the legislature's proposal. "I think the Governor has raised the level of rhetoric to their point where people have become frightened. That the viaduct may not be safe when in fact it is."
The House version calls for $500 million in new taxes.
The Governor was in Otis last week and talked to 22News about his proposal that raises $1.9 billion in new revenue, calling the legislature's proposal "too small" to cover vital projects.
"People in Springfield for example are going to have to pay more in taxes and not get the I-91 viaduct replaced and imagine if that doesn't happen," Patrick said.
Wagner said the Governor's comments created a buzz.
"I've gotten calls to my office as a result of the governor saying that it's falling a part. The viaduct is not falling a part," Wagner added.
The 2 and a half mile stretch of elevated highway in Springfield could cost around $400 million to replace and Wagner says the money will be there regardless of whose transportation package passes.
MassDot has said the highway is safe to drive on until the project gets underway and planners say it's on the top of their list.
"We're very mindful of the importance of I-91 to the city of Springfield, clearly and with the potential for casinos anywhere in the region any of them in any location will be effected by a disruption of I-91 and so is the state, very much aware of that," said Allan Blair, Economic Development Council President.
Wagner says the earliest the project could be completed is 2016.