BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts transportation officials on Monday proposed a range of options, including new taxes and fees, to raise about $1 billion per year needed to maintain and modernize public transit, highways, bridges and the rest of the state’s transportation network.
The choices were outlined in a report presented to Gov. Deval Patrick that detailed a chronically underfunded system that is heavily in debt from the Boston’s massive Big Dig highway project and other past commitments.
‘‘We cannot adequately pay for the transportation system we have today, and the improved statewide system that our customers want is one we definitely cannot afford without additional funding,’’ the report said. Mandated by lawmakers last year as part of a short-term financial fix for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, the report was prepared by the board of the state Department of Transportation and unveiled Monday at the University of Massachusetts-Boston.
The report cited a $684 million annual operating deficit at MassDOT that has forced the agency to use borrowed funds to pay for costs as routine as mowing the grass alongside interstate highways, state Transportation Secretary Richard Davey said.
In accepting the report, Patrick said upgrading transportation was vital to creating jobs and growing the state’s economy.
‘‘Transportation is about more than moving people from Point A to Point B,’’ said Patrick, who nonetheless kept the suspense going over which of the revenue options he would prefer. The governor said he would include his recommendations as part of Wednesday’s State of the State address and next week when he submits his state budget plan for the fiscal year starting July 1.
The Legislature would have to approve any new taxes to pay for transportation.
The options presented in the report included:
— Raising the state’s 21 cents per gallon gasoline tax, which has not changed since 1991. To raise $1 billion a year, the tax would have to be raised by 30 cents per gallon to 51 cents per gallon, making it the highest gas tax in the nation.
— Raising the state sales tax. To generate $1 billion for transportation, the rate would have to increase from the current 6.25 percent to 7.7 percent.
— Increasing the income tax. An 8 percent increase in the tax, from the current 5.25 percent to 5.66 percent, would generate $1 billion.
— Imposing an annual 2.4 cents per mile ‘‘vehicle miles traveled tax.’’ This tax would be collected from vehicle owners during the annual safety inspection, or by use of an onboard device that records the miles the vehicle travels in a year.
— Imposing a so-called green fee, based upon a vehicle’s carbon emissions.
— Regular and frequent increases in public transit fares, tolls and other so-called user fees. For example, MBTA fares and Massachusetts Turnpike tolls would climb 5 percent every two years.
Patrick could choose one option or a combination of several. He said he would insist that any new revenue stream be dedicated for transportation and not be siphoned off for other state programs.
The report called for a $13 billion capital investment plan, financed through the sale of bonds, over the next ten years to help pay for several longer-term projects, including expansion of the MBTA’s Green Line to Somerville and Medford; expansion of commuter rail to the SouthCoast region; rail service between Boston and Springfield and between Boston and Cape Cod; expansion of the South Station transportation hub in Boston; and rail service from Pittsfield to New York City.
While the state expects to receive a share of revenue for transportation from several casinos that are expected to be built in the next few years, and hopes to achieve about $50 million by implementing an electronic tolling system, ‘‘that alone is not enough,’’ Davey stressed.
Republicans in the Legislature have warned against any statewide tax increase, saying it would hurt the state’s economic recovery. That position was echoed Monday by the independent Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance, which called for cutting spending before raising taxes.
‘‘Our elected leaders need to realize that taking more money from taxpayers seldom is a viable solution for fixing the state’s spending problems,’’ Paul Craney, the group’s executive director, said in a statement. ‘‘Taxpayers pay billions of dollars into our state government, we need to do more with what we have.’’