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The Next MassDOT: A Transportation Vision for the Baker Administration, a new publication from Transportation for Massachusetts, provides recommendations for strengthening the state’s transportation network. It underscores how investment in the Commonwealth’s transportation roads, rails, bikeways and sidewalks boosts Massachusetts’ economic competitiveness. The Next MassDOT also outlines three transportation policy priorities by which the Baker Administration can continue moving Massachusetts along the path of reinvestment and reform.
“Massachusetts is at a watershed moment for transportation,” said Kristina Egan, Director of T4MA. “The decisions the Baker Administration makes over the next six months could be the roadmap for a better quality of life and a more robust economy for decades to come.”
“I can’t overstate the importance of investing in our transportation system,” said Rafael Mares, staff attorney at the Conservation Law Foundation. “Better, expanded transportation choices would provide a path to economic opportunities for those without cars, like youths, seniors and low-income residents. Making sure all residents have access to opportunity should be a central goal of the Baker Administration.”
While the Commonwealth has instituted reforms to transportation agencies and much needed projects to repair and modernize our transportation system are underway, inequity, debt and decay still plague the Commonwealth’s transportation system. The report details the following three transportation policy priorities the Baker Administration can adopt to move the state in the right direction:
1) Continue reforms by making every dollar count. Massachusetts must direct limited taxpayer dollars to investments that improve economic competitiveness, enhance public health and safety, and reduce climate pollution. Prioritization of transportation projects must be based on rigorous data establishing how investments will benefit the economy, environment, and health.
2) Expand transportation choices for Massachusetts residents. Expanding access to transit, bicycling and walking will attract knowledge-based industries and expand economic opportunities by reaffirming MassDOT’s goal of tripling transit, bicycling and walking in the Commonwealth.
3) Close the transportation funding gap. Massachusetts is still struggling to emerge from a legacy of infrastructure neglect and mounting debt. Despite the infusion of $600 million per year in new funding from the 2013 Transportation Finance Act, experts indicate that Massachusetts will need roughly an additional $500 million to $600 million per year to return our transportation system to a state of good repair as well as make high-leverage investments in new transportation infrastructure. The Baker Administration needs to work with the legislature and identify new sources of transportation revenue to close that gap.
“This new governor faces many challenges,” said Kirstie Pecci, Staff Attorney at MASSPIRG “and has the opportunity to use the transportation system as a catalyst for improving housing choices, building the economy, and improving the environment. If the Baker Administration is able to make investments based on data and outcomes, expand transportation choices and close the transportation funding gap, we will be on the road to a healthier, more sustainable transportation system.”
“We are looking forward to working with Governor Baker and the interim Secretary of the Department of Transportation, Frank DePaola, who was named last week,” said Nancy Goodman, Vice President for Policy at the Environmental League of Massachusetts and Chair of Transportation for Massachusetts. “Together we can build a safe, modern and equitable transportation system in Massachusetts.”
Transportation for Massachusetts is a diverse coalition of Bay State organizations working together to create safe, convenient, and affordable transportation choices for everyone in Massachusetts. Our 40 members have expertise in transportation, affordable housing, social justice, public health, the environment, planning and smart growth.
Tony Dutzik, senior policy analyst at Frontier Group, was the lead author of The Next MassDOT. Frontier Group provides information and ideas to help citizens build a cleaner, healthier, fairer and more democratic America.
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