Virtually everyone in Massachusetts agrees that the commonwealth must repair, update and rethink its transportation system.
Just ask employers in metropolitan Boston where workers navigate daily reliability issues on the MBTA or persistent congestion on the Southeast Expressway. Or manufacturing companies in the Berkshires that struggle to ship products over back roads to the Turnpike. Or restaurants on the Cape that await customers locked in multi-mile backups over the Sagamore or Bourne bridges.
Improving the complex Massachusetts transportation system will require patience, prudence and compromise to reach a solution that lays the foundation for long-term economic growth. The 3,500 members of Associated Industries of Massachusetts know as business people that sorting out the financial, logistical and operational elements of transportation reform will take years of debate and continued analysis.
AIM supports a reasoned, long-term approach built around Governor Charlie Baker’s $18 billion transportation bond bill now pending in the state Legislature. That bond bill acknowledges what Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack told the AIM Executive Forum in September – the first step in any reform must be to remove current structural impediments that prevent the Department of Transportation and the T from spending the money that the taxpayers have already given them.
AIM believes that Massachusetts policymakers must provide procurement and policy reform to the transportation system before investing money into an outdate infrastructure.
AIM believes that any solution to the transportation issue must factor in the need to reduce greenhouse gases in the transportation sector to comply with state laws to reduce global warming.
AIM supports transportation initiatives that are fair to people of all income levels and all regions of the commonwealth.
AIM acknowledges that the commonwealth may need to develop more revenue for transportation in the next three to four years once structural reforms have been accomplished. More work needs to be done to determine the best method of raising revenue and AIM recommends a deliberate approach to funding issues.
Here is AIM’s position on transportation:
AIM supports policies and responsible new investment to reduce congestion; grow capacity to deliver capital projects; lower carbon emissions in the transportation sector and ensure accountability and transparency in transportation investment spending.
- AIM supports the governor’s bond bill – specifically those provisions that provide employer tax incentives, address congestion and put in place new Department of Transportation (MassDOT) and MBTA management and procurement tools;
- AIM emphasizes the importance of procurement and contracting reform to get money flowing to projects at an accelerated rate. We support creating $1.4 billion in additional MBTA capital availability by changing the $127 million in annual appropriations to contract assistance or by increasing the annual Base Revenue Amount and Dedicated Sales Tax Revenue amount to the MBTA by $127 million.
- AIM is open to reducing transportation emissions by supporting the Transportation Climate Initiative (TCI), a regional collaboration of 12 Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states and the District of Columbia that seeks to improve transportation, develop the clean-energy economy and reduce carbon emissions from the transportation sector.
- AIM remains concerned about raising the gasoline tax because it is regressive and has a punitive effect on less populated regions of the commonwealth;
- Because AIM is the statewide business association, we support a transportation plan that meets in a fair manner the diverse needs of all regions of the commonwealth;
- AIM supports studies exploring congestion pricing as a means of reducing or mitigating congestion. Congestion pricing must apply equally to all industries and all types of vehicles and not target specific industries such as ride-sharing companies;
- AIM supports policies that add governance structures to ensure accountability and transparency in transportation revenue spending;
- AIM supports $105 million in transportation funding in the supplemental budget currently in conference committee on Beacon Hill: $50 million for MBTA, $40 million for Chapter 90, $10 million for municipal complete streets program.
The AIM Board of Directors continues to discuss details of a transportation proposal. The ongoing discussion reflects the importance that the Board attaches to the transportation debate.
Please contact Bob Rio, Senior Vice President, firstname.lastname@example.org, for updates on the transportation debate.