Saturday, 2:15 PM
Business leaders push for 25 cent gas tax hike
(Suzanne Kreiter/Globe Staff)
By Noah Bierman, Globe Staff
A group of five major Massachusetts business organizations said today that the state needs a 25 cent per gallon gas tax hike -- higher than Governor Deval Patrick’s 19 cent proposal -- to fix the state’s transportation system.
“The political stakes are high, but the leadership here is necessary,” said Paul Guzzi, president and CEO of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce.
Guzzi was joined at a press conference in downtown Boston by leaders from the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, the Massachusetts Business Roundtable, A Better City, and NAIOP Massachusetts, a commercial real estate development association.
Comparing a transportation overhaul with the state's new comprehensive healthcare law, they said the state faced a rare political opportunity to fix problems that have been simmering for more than a generation. A 25-cent increase in the gas tax would generate more than $600 million a year in taxes, the group estimated.
Structural changes to the state's transportation agencies must be part of the solution, the leaders said. But without investments in roads, bridges, trains, and subways, the state risks losing companies that are hemmed in by bad access and risks hindering workers’ ability to get to paying jobs.
“We’ll never know the projects that were never built” because of a lack of infrastructure, said David Begelfer, CEO of NAIOP Massachusetts.
Lawmakers on Beacon Hill are debating how to solve the state's transportation problems. The Legislature has not yet agreed what, if any, increase is warranted in the gas tax.