With infrastructure in need of repairs and the major city transit system steeped in billions of dollars of debt, the state may need to increase revenue from car registrations, licence renewals, taxes and tolls.
The Board of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation released its 21st Century Transportation Plan Monday, which calls for a $13 billion overall investment in state transportations systems over the next decade.
The breakdown is as follows, according to a statement associated with the plan released by Transportation Secretary and CEO Richard A. Davey:
- 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 average investment per year.
To raise the necessary funds these recommendations will include an increase in the gas tax, payroll tax, sales tax or income tax; a new green fee on vehicle registrations; a vehicle miles traveled tax; regular and modest fare, fee and toll increases; and new tolling mechanisms, according to the statement.
“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.”