“The key piece is making the case for how important this is, and I think we’re getting to that place,” McGee said after attending Patrick’s presentation.
Patrick considers transportation a legacy issue and has been laying groundwork for years, an effort he intensified last week by announcing proposals intended to streamline government and cut costs.
Those proposals would slash regulations for businesses, called for consolidating local housing authorities into regional entities, and aimed to save $20 billion in retiree health costs over three decades.
House Republican leader Bradley H. Jones Jr. called the governor’s presentation “very disheartening.”
He and Senate Republican leader Bruce E. Tarr said GOP lawmakers will be hesitant to support higher taxes and that the governor has yet to persuade them that $1 billion in additional annual spending is needed.
But some advocates thought the governor’s plan did not include enough new projects, leaving proposals such as the Urban Ring transit loop and a North Station-South Station connection in mothballs.
More than half the proposed $1 billion annually would help balance highway and transit budgets, relieve some MBTA debt, run buses at night and on weekends in cities such as Springfield, and end a practice of borrowing for basic highway operations such as mowing and striping.
The rest would cover initial payments on what the state considers good debt, borrowing to double infrastructure spending to $25 billion over the next decade.