The Honorable Mark J. Cusack, House Chair
The Honorable Adam G. Hinds, Senate Chair
Joint Committee on Revenue
State House, Boston

Dear Chair Cusack, Chair Hinds, and Distinguished Committee Members,

On behalf of the cities and towns of the Commonwealth, the Massachusetts Municipal Association appreciates the opportunity to offer testimony in support of H. 2592, filed by Rep. Smitty Pignatelli and S. 1667 filed by Senator Anne Gobi that would authorize cities and towns to adopt a local motor fuels (gasoline and diesel fuel) excise of up to 5 cents per gallon that would be dedicated to local transportation and stormwater purposes. Adoption would be by the local legislative body. This is a priority bill for the MMA.

With the property tax and other local revenues strictly limited by state law, municipal officials are seeking alternative ways to help pay for local road and bridge projects and public transit services, and begin to cover the cost of stormwater management. A 2018 analysis by the MMA found that cities and town need to spend more than $685 million annually to maintain local roads and bridges in a state of good repair. With Chapter 90 local road funding currently at $200 million, a local option motor fuels excise would help bridge the state of good repair funding gap. Well-maintained roads and bridges support local economies and economic development plans, and help protect the safety of motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.

This legislation reflects a growing municipal interest in alternative revenues for local infrastructure purposes. There are “home rule” petitions filed for a number of towns to authorize a local motor fuels excise, and H. 2592 and S. 1667 are based on these initiatives. The federal stormwater (MS4) permit issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) imposes new storm-water management obligations on cities and towns across the state. These bills would provide a way for cities and towns to help pay for the maintenance of stormwater infrastructure and for the installation of new structures such as bio-swales and other types of green infrastructure to filter and protect waterways from road and parking lot run-off pollution.

Thank you very much for the opportunity to submit testimony on this legislation. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to have your office contact John Robertson of the MMA staff at 617-426-7272 at any time.

Sincerely,

Geoffrey C. Beckwith
Executive Director & CEO