Dear Representative,

On behalf of the cities and towns of the Commonwealth, the Massachusetts Municipal Association applauds the bold and comprehensive transportation revenue and investment package advanced by Speaker DeLeo and his leadership team. These measures will help to transform our transportation system statewide, and provide essential resources to cities and towns in every region. Urgent action is needed to address unprecedented roadway congestion, struggling public transit systems, deteriorating road conditions, and damaging weather events exacerbated by global warming.

At the MMA Annual Business Meeting in January, our membership overwhelmingly passed a policy resolution that codifies the MMA’s current positions on transportation policy development, including support for new revenues and critical investments for system improvements. We were pleased to see several top municipal priorities included in H. 4506 and H. 4508, most notably a much-needed and much-appreciated increase in Chapter 90 local road funding to $300 million annually. As the House of Representatives takes up the transportation bill package this week, we urge you to maintain this essential increase for Chapter 90 funding, so that cities and towns can rebuild, maintain and improve the condition of the 30,000 miles of local roads that connect every citizen and business in our state.

The MMA and our members strongly support the need for new transportation-related revenues, because meaningful new investments in our transportation infrastructure will not be sustainable without new funds. The MMA supports an increase in the state gas tax, transportation network fees, and the investigation of congestion pricing models. Further, we are impressed by the breadth of the revenue package, so that businesses and consumers are both included, which ensures greater equity. The MMA also appreciates the funding allocations in the bond bill for municipal accounts through MassDOT programs, including continued investments in the popular and effective Complete Streets and Small Bridges initiatives, as well as important targeted assistance for rural transit programs, and revenues dedicated to RTAs across the state. Regional equity in transportation is a fundamental principle for cities and towns, and these bills strive to achieve this result.

Local government is a key partner with the state and the Legislature in upgrading and expanding our transportation infrastructure, phasing out fossil fuel use in our transportation sector, and continuing to strengthen the Commonwealth’s economy. As the full House considers these forward-thinking transportation revenue and investment proposals for passage this week, we urge you to maintain support for the needs of your municipal partners.

Of the hundreds of amendments you will consider on both bills, we ask you to support those that would increase the participation and resources for cities and towns. For example, in H. 4508, we ask you to support Amendment #18 filed by Rep. Honan to add municipal voices on the MBTA control board, and Amendment #38 filed by Rep. Pignatelli and others to create a local-option gas tax to fund municipal transportation investments. Similarly, we ask you to oppose all amendments that would reduce municipal flexibility or reduce funding or shift investments away from any community or set of communities.

If you have any questions regarding our comments, or require additional information, please do not hesitate to contact me, MMA Legislative Director John Robertson, or MMA Legislative Analyst Ariela Lovett at alovett@mma.org or 617-426-7272, ext. 161, at any time.

Sincerely,

Geoffrey C. Beckwith
MMA Executive Director & CEO