By Bob Katzen
The House 28-128, rejected an amendment that would provide an additional $25 million to cities and towns in one-time funding for the maintenance and repair of local roads and bridges across the state. This would be in addition to the $200 million already included in the spending package.
“Roads are one of the biggest complaints we get from our constituents,” said amendment sponsor Rep. Kelly Pease (R-Westfield). “I believe that elected officials need to make dedicated road funding to our cities and towns a priority. Chapter 90 funding has not been increased for the last 11 years. Cities and towns throughout the commonwealth continue to take more and more money out of their budgets to try and keep up with the increasingly poor road conditions. This and schools are usually the biggest factors in property taxes going up. Again, I believe this issue needs to be one of our top priorities at the Statehouse.”
Opponents noted that the package already contains $200 million for roads and bridges and an additional $150 million for other local transportation projects. They said that the current formula, created decades ago, for distribution of the funds is considered unfair by many cities and towns. They argued the House should wait until an attempt is made to change the formula so that the additional $25 million will be distributed in a fairer manner.
Rep. Bill Strauss (D-Mattapoisett), the House chair of the Transportation Committee and the sponsor of the bill, did not respond to repeated requests from Beacon Hill Roll Call for a comment.