Gov. Patrick vows to veto transportation bill - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Gov. Patrick vows to veto transportation bill

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Gov. Deval Patrick promised to veto a transportation bill drafted by House Speaker Robert DeLeo if it passes his desk.

"I want to be clear that I cannot support another effort to kick the can down the road and I will not," Patrick said at the State House Thursday.

In DeLeo's proposal, the state's gas tax would rise by 3 cents, bringing it to 26.5 cents a gallon.

It would also raise the cigarette tax by $1, bringing it to $3.51 a pack.

The plan also calls for a hike in the excise tax on utilities, in all, raising an estimated $500 million in new revenue for transportation.

It may sound like a good chunk of change, but Patrick says it's not nearly enough.

"We're going to need new revenue to get a modern system. What is plain is that there is such a thing as too small," Patrick said.

Patrick has his own plans to raise the revenue for road repairs.

His legislation proposes raising the state's income tax from 5.25 percent to 6.25 percent and lowering the sales tax from 6.25 percent to 4.5 percent.

It's a plan he says will eventually generate $1.9 billion a year.

DeLeo calls the proposal a heavy burden for the middle class.

"The major thing that we disagree on is how much money can the people of the commonwealth afford to pay," he said outside his office Thursday.

The transportation funds are meant to repair roadways across the state including here in Western Mass.

Just yesterday a chunk of Interstate 91 came loose. City leaders say that and other problems need to be fixed.

"You've got to have a viable operation there on 91 that carries 100,000 cars a day, so it's not just a Springfield issue," said Springfield's Chief Development Officer Kevin Kennedy.

A vote on the plan is expected next week.

If Patrick does end up vetoing the bill, he would need a two-thirds vote in each branch of the state Legislature to uphold that veto.

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