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Rep. Driscoll Joins Progressive Caucus in Letter to State Senate Regarding Transportation Funding

June 29, 2020

June 29, 2020 
 
Dear Senate President Spilka, Chair Rodrigues, and Members of the Massachusetts Senate: 
 
As members of the House Progressive Caucus, we write with both respect and with grave concern that the Massachusetts Senate has not yet taken up the progressive transportation revenue bill which the House passed in early March. The Legislature has an urgent responsibility to raise revenue for desperately needed investments in the Commonwealth’s crumbling transportation infrastructure. A strong investment in our transportation and infrastructure is vital to workers, our climate, and our economic recovery. The COVID-19 pandemic rightfully took transportation out of the spotlight it was in, back when the Greater Boston region was declared the most congested in the country, and a MassDOT study confirmed it as reaching a “tipping point.” However, despite the pandemic, our transportation and infrastructure challenges still remain and will not be solved without substantial investment.  

 

The House passed a carefully balanced revenue package that includes raising corporate taxes and increased fees on ride-hailing services, coupled with a modest increase in the gas tax. Given the fact that gas prices fell an average of 65 cents a gallon between January and May, a 5 cent increase in the gas tax leaves the state’s gas prices well below where they stood when the House first voted.  

 

The Commonwealth is now facing a staggering $6-7 billion revenue loss and the prospect of laying off thousands of teachers, social workers and human service workers if we cannot find a way to address this fiscal crisis. We must instead explore a menu of options including tapping the Rainy Day Fund, maximizing federal aid, raising targeted progressive revenue, and possibly even borrowing. Our argument to raise further progressive revenue is weakened because a previous tax vote that the House took to generate $600 million did not move forward in the Senate. The Commonwealth’s borrowing constraints and interest rate also stands to be negatively impacted without this $600 million in revenue.  

 

As policymakers, it is on us to find creative answers to difficult questions. There is never a perfect time to pass a tax increase, but as elected officials, it is our duty to act boldly and in the best interest of our constituents. We respectfully urge the Senate to take the opportunity presented by the House and act on raising revenue needed to fund both our transportation needs, the investments we promised in education and the many needs that the Commonwealth faces as we work our way out of this public health and economic crisis.

 

We welcome the opportunity to work together on this issue that is vital to all of our communities.  

 

Respectfully,   
 
Tricia Farley-Bouvier

3rd Berkshire 
 
Jack Patrick Lewis

7th Middlesex 
 
Andy X. Vargas

3rd Essex 
  
Christine Barber

34th Middlesex 
 
Natalie Blais

1st Franklin 
 
Peter Capano

11th Essex
 
Michelle Ciccolo

15th Middlesex 
 
Mike Connolly

26th Middlesex 
 
Mike Day

31st Middlesex 
 
Marjorie Decker

25th Middlesex 
 
Mindy Domb

3rd Hampshire 
 
Bill Driscoll Jr.

7th Norfolk 
 
Nika Elugardo

15th Suffolk 
 
Denise Garlick

13th Norfolk 
 
Carmine Gentile

13th Middlesex 

Tami Gouveia

14th Middlesex 
 
James Hawkins

2nd Bristol 
 
Natalie Higgins

4th Worcester 
 
Kate Hogan

3rd Middlesex 
 
Mary Keefe

15th Worcester 
 
David LeBoeuf

17th Worcester 
 
Jay Livingstone

8th Suffolk 
 
Adrian Madaro

1st Suffolk 
 
Liz Malia

11th Suffolk 
 
Joan Meschino        

3rd Plymouth

 

Christina Minnicucci

14th Essex      

 

Tram Nguyen     

18th Essex 
 
Sarah Peake

4th Barnstable 
 
Alice Peisch

14th Norfolk 
 
Denise Provost

27th Middlesex 
 
 Dave Rogers          

24th Middlesex          

 

Lindsay Sabadosa      

1st Hampshire        

 

Jon Santiago

9th Suffolk 
 
Chynah Tyler

7th Suffolk        
 
Steven Ultrino

33rd Middlesex 
 
Aaron Vega

5th Hampden 
  
Tommy Vitolo

15th Norfolk

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