On Wednesday, the Massachusetts House released a transportation tax and fee bill as well as advancing a revised version of Governor Baker’s transportation bond bill.
The transportation tax and fee bill (H4508) will raise roughly $600 million per year through a 5-cent gas tax increase, a 9-cent diesel tax increase, a tiered increase to the $456 corporate minimum excise tax, higher fees on ride-hailing services, and applying the sales tax to vehicle purchases by rental car companies. On the spending side, the bill would create new, dedicated $27 million annual revenue streams to the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) and the Regional Transit Authorities (RTAs). The additional funding is not earmarked in the same bill and would be appropriated during annual budget proceedings.
The $14.4 billion transportation bond bill (H4506) includes a $100 million increase, to $300 million, in annual Chapter 90 funding the state pays to fund local road and bridge maintenance. It also authorizes funding for several major projects already underway or being planned, including the Green Line Extension, the Allston multimodal project and South Coast Rail.
The House is scheduled to debate these bills this week, on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively.
MassBio President & CEO issued the below statement on these bills:
“Transportation in Massachusetts is a growing economic development and talent recruitment and retention issue in the life sciences and beyond – one that MassBio is committed to helping address through sound policy and funding initiatives. We are pleased to see the House propose new revenues that will help alleviate this crisis, as we know the state’s transportation problems cannot be solved without new funding. We encourage the Legislature to be bold as they finalize a transportation funding bill and include policy solutions that not only create new revenues but also change behavior. It must be an expansive enough package to tackle not only near-term problems but also to provide adequate resources to future-proof the transportation system for generations. If Massachusetts wants to remain the best place in the world for the life sciences, our state needs to have a best in the world transportation system.”
On Monday, MassBio announced a new, exclusive partnership with Harvard Pilgrim Health Care to offer member companies quality health plans through MassBio’s new program, Edge Benefits. Through this agreement, Edge Benefits will offer a comprehensive array of benefit offerings, with medical, dental, life and disability, vision, and voluntary plans – administered via a state-of-the-art benefit administration platform.
Also Monday, the Joint Committee on Ways and Means held a public hearing at Berkshire Community College in Pittsfield, to gather input on aspects of the Governor’s FY2021 budget relative to the environment, energy, and transportation.
Super Tuesday is this week, the day in which the greatest number of U.S. states hold their presidential primary elections. Massachusetts is among the states where residents will have the opportunity to cast their vote for a presidential nominee.