With a debt-ridden public transporation system needing repairs, the state will likely need to increase revenue from car registrations, license renewals, taxes and tolls, according to a new report.
The Board of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation released its 21st Century Transportation Plan on Monday, Jan. 14 which calls for a $13 billion overall investment in state transportations systems over the next decade.
Included in the report are several ideas to pay for public transportation needs including an increase in the vehicle registration fee by $53 to $103, an increase in the vehicle inspection fee by $19 to $48, boosting the state sales tax from 6.25 percent to 7.75 percent, increasing the gas tax by 30 cents per gallon to 51 cents per gallon and increasing the income tax from 5.25 percent to 5.66 percent. The report also floats a 2.4 cent-per mile miles traveled tax.
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Revenues from those fees would help cover the costs of the state's transportation project needs, which the report details.
- The state needs $684 million to operate the same systems in place today.
- Additionally, the state needs to invest $5.2 billion over the next 10 years for repairs to roadways, highways and structurally deficient bridges.
- The state needs $3.8 billion over the next 10 years to invest in existing transit services.
- The state needs an additional $275 million over the next 10 years to invest in Registry and airport maintenance.
- Overall, the plan calls for an additional $1.02 billion average investment per year.
“Without new revenues, the MassDOT Board of Directors will need to cut service at the MBTA and RTAs and significantly increase fares in order to approve a balanced budget for Fiscal Year 2014, which begins July 1,” according to the statement.
Gov. Deval Patrick, who attended a presentation of the plan Monday at the University of Massachusetts Boston, said the state is faced with difficult but necessary choices.
“What’s plain as day is that we have to make choices. We can choose to invest in ourselves, to invest in a growth strategy that has been proven time and again to work. Or we can choose to do nothing. But let us be clear: doing nothing is a choice, too,” he said. “And that choice has consequences. It means longer commutes, cuts in services, larger fare and fee increases, and a continuation of the self-defeating economics of cutting off large parts of our population from opportunity and growth.”
He concluded by saying: “I choose growth. I choose shaping our own future over letting the future happen to us. I hope we all are ready that make that choice, and I look forward to working together with you to do so.”