But, Patrick vetoed the transportation bill, and DiZoglio and O’Connor Ives said the two options left were to override the veto and allow the tax increases that already passed to take effect, or to let the veto stand and risk the Legislature passing a new, larger increase in order to garner the governor’s support.
O’Connor Ives said Patrick surprised Legislators when he issued the veto threat in June because he had indicated he would support $800 million in revenue for transportation. Part of Patrick’s reason for vetoing, he said, was the potential for tolls on the Massachusetts Turnpike west of Route 128 to expire in 2017 if the turnpike is deemed in good repair and if the governor at that time decides to lift the toll.
“There are a lot of ifs to that concern,” O’Connor Ives said. “It’s not a real reason to veto that.”
Republicans, who voted against the transportation plan and then voted to sustain Patrick’s veto, said the override should have failed so Legislators could go back to square one to prevent any tax increase. But DiZoglio and O’Connor Ives said a tax increase was unavoidable and this lower proposal was better than a bigger hike in the near future.
“With the same governor and strong support by the majority of Legislators for a gas tax, square one would be a 6-cent gas tax,” O’Connor Ives said. “The important thing I’d like to convey is my vote to override the governor’s veto was a vote to draw line in the sand and prevent a measure for an even higher gas tax. I didn’t support any gas tax.”
Republicans went on the offensive immediately after the override vote last week, issuing a press release that called out DiZoglio and 11 other Democrats as flip floppers who “caved” to override the governor’s veto and allow the tax increases to take effect.