Mass like most states continues to kick the infrastructure can down the road because of constituents with ill informed we already paid for statements.
We spend markedly less on infrastructure then we did a generation ago. The interstate system is 57 years old; most of the systems bridges were constructed in the 60's and 70's and funded by the highway trust fund through the gas tax (a user fee for roads) and with a 10% match from the states revenues, once again usually through gas taxes. Well gas tax revenues haven't kept up with the need as the tax hasn't been increased since the early 90's. Costs and salaries have increased 200 to 300% since then but the gas tax just sits there. Highway design standards have changed, bridges are nearing the end of their economic life improvements are needed but no one wants to pay. Well the more you put off the more it will cost you later.
If you own a home you maintain it don't you? You clean the gutters before water backs up into eaves. You repair the roof from damage and replace it when it hits the end of its economic life around 25-35 yr. You paint it before the systems fails or rot will set in. Sometimes you expand your home due to a growing family need and upgrade the electrical system, replace the furnace or add air-conditioning.
There are no free rides; so we need to figure out the fairest way to for infrastructure which in my mind is by the user. So yes we should increase the gas tax and index it to inflation. We should look at tolls for complex transportation systems, such as the interstate within the 128 belt because it is much more costly per mile to build and maintain then it is for a section of I-90 in western Mass.
Governor Patrick's Transportation Way Forward plan addresses many desires and needs and will eventually pit different constituency groups against each other; transit vs. roads and, urban vs. suburban vs. rural. Plans for expansion and improvements must be made on objective cost benefit formulas to ensure we are making wise decisions on limited resources. Plans to change how the state pays for its own operation must change such as funding its operations on bond is just outrageously inefficient and the state needs to look at its preventative maintenance operations with an eye at maintenance is how you save money long term.