With the end of legally mandated tolling coming to Massachusetts in 2017, Gov. Deval Patrick shot down a new $805 million transportation bill Wednesday that would rely heavily on tolling for revenue generation. The governor said he would return the bill to the General Assembly with an amendment that would decrease that reliance.
In its current form, the bill—which already cleared both houses—draws from a variety of sources in addition to tolling, such as a three-cent gas tax, a $1.00 cigarette tax and a tax on computer software and utilities. If tolls were eliminated from the equation, the state could fall up to $130 million short of the numbers projected in the bill.
Two possible solutions were raised by Massachusetts Transportation Secretary Richard A. Davey in a June 6 memo to lawmakers: either raising the gas tax or voting to extend tolling beyond 2017.
Patrick has 10 days to draft the amendment and return the bill to the General Assembly for another vote.