For immediate release: Wednesday, February 26, 2020
BOSTON – The Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) today issued a statement on the House’s newly-released transportation bills.
“House leadership today made some significant recommendations to raise critical new revenue for our transportation system. This conversation is overdue and desperately needed, and we’re grateful that it is underway,” said MAPC Government Affairs Director Lizzi Weyant, who continued:
“As the regional planning agency for Greater Boston, MAPC supports the House’s proposal to increase the gas tax and to levy additional fees on transportation network companies (TNCs) like Uber and Lyft.
While the gas tax increase is lower than we had hoped, the TNC fee increase puts us on par with other major metropolitan regions, and newly-proposed TNC data reporting requirements will go a long way towards helping us understand the impact these trips are having on congestion and greenhouse gas emissions.
It is important that the final package raise enough new money for the MBTA that the agency can address the challenges outlined in its recent safety report, as well as its significant maintenance backlog, climate resiliency needs, and existing operating deficit. Over the coming days, MAPC will work to understand how much new money this legislation will truly dedicate to the MBTA.
As the House continues to move the bill forward, we hope that the goal of raising over half a billion dollars per year will not be diminished in the final package. We urge the House to preserve any revenue raised from both the gas tax increase and the Transportation Climate Initiative, so we can continue to make progress on our goal of reducing emissions from the transportation sector.
We applaud the House leadership for considering this transportation revenue package alongside a Transportation Bond Bill that includes a new tool for cities and towns championed by Transportation Committee Chair William Straus (D-Mattapoisett). This section will allow localities to capture some of the increased value of land near transportation improvements to help pay for those improvements.
We encourage the House also to allow cities and towns to use regional ballot initiatives to raise revenue for critical local and regional projects, a tool that is available to local governments throughout much of the United States.
MAPC will continue to dig into the details of the legislation and we look forward to this important debate.”