Who is a member?
Our members are the local governments of Massachusetts and their elected and appointed leadership.
Lee Town Meeting this spring took a first step toward creating a municipal gas tax that would be earmarked for local road and bridge projects.
The levy would add 3 cents to each gallon of gas purchased in Lee, which includes eight fueling stations, two of which are located in plazas on the Massachusetts Turnpike.
The proposal, which would require legislative approval as well as a second OK from Town Meeting in 2016, appears to be unprecedented in Massachusetts.
For several years, Lee has been putting money aside to augment its Chapter 90 road and bridge funding, according to Selectman Patricia Carlino. But, she noted, a single new bridge can cost well over $500,000.
“It doesn’t take long to go through the money that you’re saving up,” she said.
Rep. William “Smitty” Pignatelli said he is planning to file two bills related to the proposal approved at Lee’s Town Meeting.
One would be a home rule petition that, if approved, would clear the way for a vote at Lee’s 2016 Town Meeting enabling the local gas tax.
The other bill would be based on the local option, introduced in 2010, that made it possible for cities and towns to apply a surcharge to restaurant meals and lodging – but with a significant distinction. While revenue raised through taxes on meals and lodging can be used for general purposes, Pignatelli’s proposal would dedicate gas tax revenue to road and bridge construction and maintenance.
“Let’s make it specifically for roads and bridges,” Pignatelli said. “It cannot go into the general fund.”