Resolution on the Transportation Finance Crisis (2012)

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As adopted by the members on January 21, 2012.

Whereas, transportation finance in the Commonwealth is a critical and urgent matter because the current program has been operating on short-term extensions that undermine predictability and stability, interfering with the ability of towns, cities and states to plan and manage their infrastructure maintenance and improvement operations; and

Whereas, the Massachusetts Transportation Finance Commission found that there is a state transportation funding deficit of approximately $20 billion over the next two decades, including a $1 billion gap in the Chapter 90 program, and funding for Chapter 90 has not kept pace with increases in the cost of materials and labor, as evidenced by an MMA survey of cities and towns that determined that the actual need for the Chapter 90 program is $400 million a year; and

Whereas, if Congress fails to reauthorize federal funding for surface transportation programs at current levels, Massachusetts will face the loss of up to $580 million a year in transportation funding, which would undermine state and local finances and withdraw crucial resources that are essential to maintaining our roads and bridges; and

Whereas, a proposal by the Chair of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee would cut federal highway funding by 34 percent, a reduction that would cost Massachusetts $216 million a year, presenting similar threats to the viability of our public ways;

Therefore, in order to keep our transportation system moving, enhance economic development, create essential construction jobs, protect and promote safety on roadways, and build our local and regional economies, it is hereby resolved by the members of the Massachusetts Municipal Association as follows:

• The MMA will take a leadership role as part of a statewide coalition of key stakeholders examining the extent of the funding crisis, advocating for multi-faceted solutions, and educating the public about the critical needs of the Commonwealth’s local and state transportation systems, including the promotion of a stable, broad-based revenue structure that is adequate to support and maintain our roads, bridges, highways and transit systems in a manner that shares resources fairly with the cities and towns of Massachusetts; and

• The Governor and the Legislature must approve a new state transportation bond act early in the 2012 legislative session, with a three-year Chapter 90 authorization of not less than $900 million, or $300 million a year; and

• Congress and the President should immediately reauthorize the federal surface transportation funding program to repair, maintain and build highways, bridges and transit systems, called SAFETEA-LU, at 2011 spending levels for at least two years, including reauthorization of the existing federal fuels taxes to pay for these infrastructure investments; and

• A copy of this resolution shall be presented to the governor, the members of the Massachusetts Legislature, the members of the Massachusetts Congressional delegation, and the President of the United States on behalf of the cities and towns of the Commonwealth.