Gardner Mayor Mike Nicholson

Gardner Mayor Mike Nicholson was among the 31 members of a new Transportation Funding Task Force sworn in by Gov. Maura Healey on Feb. 29.

The task force, created by executive order in late January, is charged with developing recommendations for a long-term, sustainable transportation finance plan. The committee will have until the end of the year to study the state’s transportation system and offer recommendations on how to support a safe, reliable, equitable and efficient transportation network.

The funding implications of the transition from fossil fuels to electric vehicles — which do not pay the state gas tax — are expected to get considerable attention from the committee.

“Investments in transportation lift everyone up,” Transportation Secretary Monica Tibbits-Nutt said in a prepared statement, “and if we want to ensure continued progress, we need a funding blueprint that takes into account our transportation needs, challenges and opportunities over many years.”

Tibbits-Nutt is chairing the task force, which includes public and private sector leaders. Mayor Nicholson is the MMA’s representative.

“I’m looking forward to making sure that the needs of our cities and towns have a voice at the table,” Nicholson said. “Transportation funding and infrastructure repair funding play a key role in our economic development, housing production, public health, and overall goals for municipalities. People simply need to be able to get to where they need to go. I’m hoping the work by this task force puts that all together so we can get a full-picture view of transportation in Massachusetts, rather than a bunch of silos working against each other or forgetting key aspects.”

Examining needs, projected changes, and funding necessary to support everything from state and municipal road and bridge construction and repair, to MBTA and regional transit systems will be on the table.

Task force members include Administration and Finance Secretary Matt Gorzkowicz, Housing and Livable Communities Secretary Ed Augustus, Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Lauren Jones, Economic Development Secretary Yvonne Hao, Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rebecca Tepper, Massachusetts Climate Chief Melissa Hoffer, Federal Funds and Infrastructure Director Quentin Palfrey, MBTA General Manager Phil Eng, Senate Transportation Chair Brendan Crighton, and House Transportation Chair William Straus. (See the complete list.)

Written by