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Rail Project on Chopping Block After Voters Reject Gas Tax Indexing

The rollback of gas tax indexing is projected to lose $1 billion for the Bay State over the next decade. Initiative proponents claim that the legislature can increase the gas tax anytime, though last year's tax increase was the first since 1991.
November 7, 2014, 9am PST | Irvin Dawid
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Prior to the election, we noted that Stephen Lee Davis of Transportation for America sees the Massachusetts ballot measure as a "bellwether for efforts to raise state transportation revenue." 

Nicole Dungca of The Boston Globe writes about the dire consequences to state transportation funding now that 52 percent of voters chose to support the initiated state statute.

Michael J. Widmer, president of the Taxpayers Foundation, who helped campaign against the repeal, said he believed some of the biggest transportation projects, such as the South Coast Rail project that would provide commuter rail service from New Bedford and Fall River to Boston, could now be on the chopping block.

Explaining their opposition to gas tax indexing for inflation, Holly Robichaud of Tank the Gas Tax, "said gas tax indexing was tantamount to taxation without representation," writes Dungca.

The gas tax will remain at 24 cents per gallon, plus an underground tank removal tax of 2.5 cents per gallon. Only the indexing aspect of the 2013 bill that increased the gas tax last year by three cents was eliminated.

Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone of Somerville, who campaigned against the repeal, said (Republican) Governor-elect Charlie Baker and the Legislature need to identify another funding mechanism to avoid the 'real public safety crisis' of deferred maintenance of the state’s bridges and roads," writes Dungca.

Another sign that the "high revenue potential of a vehicle-miles-traveled fee" makes this option inevitable?

[Hat tip to AASHTO Daily Transportation]

Full Story:
Published on Thursday, November 6, 2014 in The Boston Globe
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