BOSTON (WWLP) - State lawmakers, local mayors, and communities groups at the Legislature's transportation committee hearing Monday agreed there is a need to fix our state's roads, bridges and public transit system.
"It's interesting that most of the questions from every member as well as everybody that came today was supportive of investing in transportation," said Transportation Committee Senate Chairman Thomas McGee (D-Lynn).
Whether or not Governor Deval Patrick's $19 billion dollar spending plan is the answer is up for debate. In Governor Patrick's plan, about $8 billion dollars in investments rely on the state Legislature passing higher taxes to raise about one billion dollars annually.
"I agree that the unmet need comes toward a billion dollars a year in project spending, I don't as one individual member see an ability to get to that level," said Transportation Committee House Chairman William Straus (D-Mattapoisett).
Massachusetts Department of Transportation Secretary Richard Davey says the remaining costs can be financed through federal funding and existing state revenue streams.
"For capital assets like trains and bridges …for assets that have lives of 25 or 50 years it's okay to borrow money, and to pay for those over that life span," said Davey.
But many state lawmakers are leaning toward a smaller revenue package than what the governor is proposing. McGee and Straus suggested the state only raise revenue for absolutely necessary projects. The next few weeks will be spent figuring out what that so-called "magic" revenue number will be.