Transportation Financing

by Dan Wolf

Thu, 04/11/2013

This week, the Senate released Senate bill 1766: “An Act Relative to Transportation Finance,” and we plan on debating this legislation over the next few days. As the debate continues over how best to fund our transportation and infrastructure needs, I thought it might be helpful to share with you my thought process on how I come to my positions.

Three criteria become lenses through which I see not just this issue, but every issue:

  • First, does a proposal solve a problem short-term, in this case a funding gap?
  • Second, does a proposal include a dynamic vision and plan for the long-term, in this case making our public transportation system truly world class, with all the great benefits that will bring?
  • And third, does a proposal raise the revenue necessary to accomplish these goals in a way that does not further burden middle class, working families, asking instead for those who have benefited most over the past 30 years to make a reasonable contribution?

If the answer to all three of these questions is “Yes,” so is my vote.

If the answer to all three of these questions is “No,” so is my vote.

Over the past week, my colleagues and I have been focused on trying to move the Senate away from a bill proposed by the House, which to my mind does little more than address the short-term problem- and move us closer to Governor Patrick’s proposal. While I don’t agree with all aspects of the Governor’s proposal, it does speak to all three of my basic questions.

Furthermore, the governor’s proposal does something else that I find crucial: Fund public education, from pre-school through community colleges and universities, at higher levels.

Where we land on these three questions will define my vote on this package. But the fundamental criteria, issue by issue, will never change.