Boston-area mayors call for gas-tax increase to fund transit, roadway improvements

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BOSTON — Boston-area government leaders are calling for a 15-cent increase in Massachusetts’ gas tax to help fund transit and roadway projects.

The State House News Service reports that Boston Mayor Martin Walsh, along with members of the Metropolitan Mayors Coalition, the North Shore Coalition, and the Commuter Rail Communities Coalition, have called on Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker and the state legislature to approve “significant new revenue” for transportation funding. The proposed 15-cent addition to the gas tax, currently 24 cents per gallon, would bring in an estimated $450 million per year.

“We need to take the essential next steps to improve mobility in our city and our state,” Walsh said in a statement, “and increasing revenue for critical infrastructure is needed to ensure our current and future residents are able to move around the region in an equitable, affordable and reliable manner."

The groups also called for additional highway tolls and higher fees on ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft, among other concepts.

The area’s transit provider, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, has voted for a major upgrade of its commuter rail system, including electrification of at least three lines, but currently has no funding plans for the project. [See “MBTA board votes for electrification of some commuter rail lines,Trains News Wire, Nov. 5, 2019.]

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