BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) - Governor Deval Patrick announced a $13 billion economic growth strategy over the next ten years to expand transportation projects across the state Monday.
"Thousands and thousands of people have weighed in. What they tell us, as the Secretary said, is that they want more transportation, not less," said Governor Deval Patrick.
The transportation strategy includes building rail service between Springfield and Boston, Pittsfield and New York City and expanding bus services throughout western Massachusetts. The plan requires the state to come up with more than $1 billion in additional revenue annually.
"There are various reports, one tells you that for every dollar we spend at transportation, it returns $2 dollars to the economy, there's another report that talks about for every dollar spent it returns $4 dollars to the economy," said Executive Office of Transportation Secretary Richard Davey. "It's clear transportation is really a growth strategy as opposed to just a transportation strategy."
But Governor Patrick didn't address how the state is going to come up with more than one billion in extra revenue to pay for his administration's transportation plan. Patrick will make suggestions at his state of the state address on Wednesday. Lawmakers are reacting with cautious optimism.
"To me this is a vision. It's not a plan until we get the details of it. And to me it's going to be an issue of equity of how much we're being asked to pay in western Massachusetts compared to how much we're going to get," said Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier. (D-Pittsfield).
A Massachusetts Department of Transportation report has outlined options to increase revenues, including fee increases, tax hikes and a continuation of tolls on the Western Turnpike.
Transportation leaders say if Massachusetts does nothing about transportation, the state will face a more than $3 billion dollar deficit over the next 10 years.