“I look forward to working with members of the Conference Committee to reach
a swift, yetresponsible compromise that will ensure approval of the supplemental budget by both branches
of the Legislature,” Knapik added.
In other session news, the Senate approved the final report offered by the TransportationFinancing Conference Committee during formal session on Wednesday. The report recommends$500 million in new revenues,
a far cry from the Governor’s initial request of $1.9 billion
support immediate improvements to the state’s aging infrastructure and help develop future
projects to improve roads, bridges, and public transit systems. The compromise would, however,direct up to $805 million in state spending to transportation accounts by 2018.The Transportation Finance Framework includes a provision to fully forward fund the
Commonwealth’s Regional Transportation Authorities, including the Pioneer Valley Transit
Authority (PVTA). Currently, the RTAs receive state funding on a reimbursement basis,meaning that they have to borrow money at the onset of the year to cover their budget. Forwardfunding will provide a more secure financial footing for the RTAs by eliminating their need to borrow for operating costs.The increases in revenue will also help support Chapter 90 funding to cities and towns. Thelegislature unanimously approved a $300 million to support local road and bridge projects inearly May. Despite the overwhelming support for the allocation, the Governor has withheld half of the appropriation and has not yet committed to the release of the remaining funds.In addition, the plan institutes strict benchmarks for the Department of Transportation and theMassachusetts Bay Transportation Authority to generate own-source revenues and savings andshare in the cost of funding an improved their transportation systems. The plan closes fundinggaps for both institutions in Fiscal Year 2014. The measure will also move all DOT personnelcosts off the capital budget over the next three years.
“The passages of the transportation financing package will allow the State to i
nvest in the mostimmediate transportation needs, provide a stable funding source for our Regional Transit