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Boston and Beyond

January 11, 2014

Mass. officials unveil $12B transportation plan

BOSTON (AP) — An ambitious plan unveiled by Gov. Deval Patrick’s administration yesterday seeks to modernize the state’s infrastructure by pumping billions of dollars into transportation, including new MBTA trains, road and bridge repairs, and all-electronic tolling.

The five-year, $12.4 billion capital investment plan is only a blueprint and there is no guarantee that all of the projects listed in it will actually receive the necessary funding to go forward. But the administration said it was the first time a fully unified approach had been presented covering all forms of transportation at the state and local levels.

“We invest in our transportation infrastructure because roads, rail and bridges create a foundation that support private sector investment and expanded opportunity for all our residents,” Patrick said in a statement.

The plan includes $1.3 billion to extend the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s Green Line to Somerville and Medford, $835 million to replace aging Red Line and Orange Line trains, and $254 million for the preliminary stages of a proposed extension of commuter rail to the state’s SouthCoast region.

It would also provide more than $3 billion to maintain and rebuild outdated bridges around the state.

The Legislature last year approved a transportation financing bill, including a 3 cent per gallon hike in the gasoline tax and a $1 per pack cigarette tax increase, to provide up to $800 million in new annual revenue for transportation by 2018. Patrick had requested a larger tax package and said the final bill fell short of what was needed to address all of the state’s pressing long-term transportation needs.

In previewing the capital plan for the state’s transportation board earlier this week, Secretary of Transportation Richard Davey said that while it would not accomplish all of the administration’s goals, it was still a “significant step forward.”

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