Lawmakers call for MBTA funding plan to benefit western part of the state

Boston Statehouse

BOSTON (WWLP) – This week Governor Baker announced what he’s calling the ‘largest 5-year spending plan in the history of the T, ‘ and now, lawmakers are looking at ways to have it funded by all Massachusetts tax-payers.    

Governor Baker plans to file a major transportation borrowing bill in the next 30 to 60 days to outline his infrastructure priorities for the next five years. 

The proposal aims to provide $10 billion to the MBTA over that 5 year period. 

By delegating that money to the MBTA, western Massachusetts lawmakers are outraged because it wouldn’t benefit residents in the western part of the state, but it could cost them. 

“Enough is enough, we are footing the bill for a different part of the state and it’s fundamentally unfair if we have a say in where that money’s going to be spent and contain that then that’s fine, that’s one thing. But I’m sick and tired as a western Massachusetts State Representative funding projects that people from western Mass will never have the benefit of,” Rep. John Velis said. 

Lawmakers have discussed ways to raise money for the MBTA project, like adding a 24-cent gas tax and implementing the ‘Millionaires tax.’ 

Both of the funding proposals would cost western Massachusetts residents, but it wouldn’t actually fix the transportation issues outside of metro Boston. 

Even though the governor wants to designate $200 million for road and bridge projects, western Massachusetts lawmakers said more needs to be done to fix issues like potholes and frost heaves. 

The MBTA proposal also does not fund any of the research needed for East West Rail.

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