Patrick has appointed a special commission to look at the industry and its work is nearly complete, said Alec Loftus, spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services.
Patrick has made transportation a top priority this year, and the Legislature has developed a consensus that something needs to be done to address an estimated shortfall of about $1 billion a year to maintain the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, regional bus systems, and state highways. Murray, in her speech, plans to cite significant needs, including a $2.2 trillion backlog of infrastructure projects at the MBTA.
But she does not specifically endorse a tax increase. Instead, she notes that the Legislature had previously demanded “reform before revenue,” which sparked a 2009 overhaul that eliminated the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority. She said that change, plus an increase in the sales tax that staved off toll hikes and MBTA fare increases, helped the state “overcome some of its most immediate problems” with its transportation system.
“It is now possible to envision a better future for the Department of Transportation, where it was not before,” she plans to say.