WRTC comments to Transportation 4 MA

March 19, 2015

images-7Mr. Jim Tarr

Transportation for Massachusetts

14 Beacon Street, Suite 707

Boston, MA 02108

Dear Jim,

The Westford Republican Town Committee would like to express its gratitude to you for attending the WRTC’s March meeting, continuing its ‘listening’ tour of issues and concerns with town leaders on the status of transportation in Massachusetts. Members found the discussion informative and instructive.

Concerns raised by participants are summarized:

  • Difficult to get the suburbs to agree to any new revenue since public transportation is neither available nor desired
  • Increasing the gas tax is a regressive tax hitting the low-income, suburban drivers/businesses harder
  • Lack of trust in the legislature with any funding source because the legislature has consistently been unable to adhere to a sustained commitment to use new revenue to address transportation in a meaningful way
  • Impact of economic stimulus program, where the federal government funded ‘shovel-ready’ projects, remains unexplained to the voters
  • MA is the least business-friendly environment and new fees will widen the gap with other states
  • Statement that 50% of all MA bridges are deficient but not all bridges are state responsibility is a scare tactic
  • Separate and address the problems, roads & bridges vs. public transportation, independently
  • Solve other cost drivers first such as pension disparity and procurement law
  • Answer the question, “why does it cost substantially more to maintain and repair roads and bridges in MA than other states?”
  • Emphasize safety on public transportation because it is a target rich environment
  • Public transportation includes all aspects including parking availability
  • Protect “Home Rule” in permitting for expansion projects
  • Know/understand the limits of revenue sources particularly the affect on individual property tax payers with regard to sidewalks and bike trails
  • Separately fund repayment of Big Dig debt and consider refinancing
  • Will not support fees for miles driven as a funding source
  • Work with regional planning organizations, such as the North Middlesex Council of Governments, to address transportation needs

The Westford Republican Town Committee emphasizes reform and transparency before additional revenue sources are to be considered.

Sincerely,

Valerie A. Wormell

Chair, Westford Republican Town Committee

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