Streetsblog: Will the Massachusetts Senate Salvage Major Transportation Legislation This Year?

The Senate looks increasingly unlikely to debate the tax increases that the House approved in March. Sen. Joe Boncore (D-Winthrop), the Chair of the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Transportation, told Chris Lisinski of the State House News Service that the pandemic has forced lawmakers to take a more cautious view of the Commonwealth’s finances, and “shifted the conversation from a discussion that was isolated to transportation improvement, to a broader debate on what the state needs as a whole for revenue going forward.”

Instead, the Senate is scheduled to debate this week a $16.9 billion bond bill that would authorize more debt to pay for transportation infrastructure projects. The bill would help complete major construction projects, but in general, it would not generate new tax revenues to pay for this debt, or to support transit agencies like the MBTA in their annual operating budgets.