SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - Riders of the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority told 22News that they are thrilled with Governor Deval Patrick's plan to increase funding for transportation.
The Governor is proposing $13 billion in new transportation spending , some of which would go to expanding bus service in western Massachusetts. PVTA riders told 22News that they have suffered from past cutbacks on routes and services, and were hopeful that the new spending would mean fares would remain at the current $1.25 rate.
"It's my only means to transit. I've never owned a car, and I rely on the bus almost every day," James Waldon of Springfield said.
"It's how I get everywhere right now," Hollie Pierce of Springfield said. "If I didn't have the bus, I'd be walking everywhere."
Still, Patrick is looking to pay for the proposal, and a separate plan to increase education spending, with tax increases. He is asking for an increase in the state's income tax; raising the rate from 5.25% to 6.25% , as well as increasing Turnpike tolls and gradually raise the gas tax. He would lower the sales tax from 6.25% to 4.5%. It's unclear whether the Legislature will back these proposals.
Tim Brennan, Executive Director of the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, told 22News that there are 11 million rides each year on the PVTA system, which serves Hampden, Hampshire, and southern Franklin County.