FUNDING: Mass. lawmakers battle governor over transportation spending

Both the state House and Senate expected to reject amendment to original deal

News The Boston Globe July 09, 2013
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Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick has some issues with the transportation spending measure approved by the state legislature, and seems determined to do something about it. Now, it’s the state legislature’s turn to throw its thumb down.

 

Patrick submitted a proposal which calls for a further increase in the state’s gas tax through 2017 if certain Massachusetts Turnpike tolls expire. The state House and Senate are both against the idea, and are expected to bring it up for a vote next week. Lawmakers approved a plan that also called for an increase in the gas tax as well as other tax spikes, but Patrick thought it was not enough to address the state’s ailing infrastructure network.

 

If the House and Senate officially reject the governor’s plan and send the original bill back to Patrick’s desk it would face a veto, which would require a two-thirds vote to overturn. Neither the House nor Senate were certain enough support was there for the political counter-punch.

 

“I don’t see a boatload of support for either [an additional] gas tax or a toll hike,” House Speaker Robert DeLeo told The Boston Globe. “The amendment in its present form is unacceptable, so I don’t know what we could do besides straight rejection.”

 

The state budget was approved last week, but the absence of an approved transportation bill would require alterations by Patrick.

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