Legislative leaders set votes on transportation finance measure for Wednesday

On Friday, Governor Deval Patrick vetoed an $800 million transportation finance bill.

This week, legislative leaders say their members will vote to override that veto. That vote, set for Wednesday, will cap a contentious back-and-forth between two branches of government over how much to raise taxes to fund upgrades to the state’s transportation system.

After meeting with Patrick, both Senate President Therese Murray and House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo indicated to reporters at the State House that they believe they have the two-thirds of votes in their respective chambers necessary to override the governor’s veto and make the transportation finance measure law.

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“Yes we do,” Murray said when asked whether she had the votes.

“Based upon the last vote that we had, I feel fairly confident,” DeLeo said.

The bill includes a three cents a gallon increase to the gas tax, a $1 a pack increase to cigarette taxes and other new taxes. But it falls short of the revenue Patrick wanted to help fix the state’s transportation infrastructure.

The Legislature last week rejected Patrick’s suggested changes to the bill. Patrick had proposed to further increase the gas tax in 2017 if certain Massachusetts Turnpike tolls expire as scheduled, saying the state needed a replacement source of revenue if the tolls are removed.

Murray and DeLeo, standing shoulder to shoulder, defended the transportation finance legislation today.

“We feel that we gave the governor a good bill, that it’s going to take care of transportation needs and problems far into the future,” Murray said.

“We have provided a good piece of legislation providing proper financing for transportation for many years to come,” DeLeo added.