Jun 14

State Representative John W. Scibak joined his colleagues in the Massachusetts House of Representatives today in passing legislation that closes the MBTA’s gap for the upcoming fiscal year and provides vital assistance to the regional transit authorities.

“I commend Chairman Straus of the Joint Committee on Transportation and Chairman Dempsey of the House Committee on Ways and Means for their work in crafting this necessary legislation,” said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo. “In these tough economic times, it remains so important that we continue to aid our transportation system, both the MBTA and our Regional Transit Authorities, as they are key resources for our citizens and are also responsible for maintaining jobs and productivity in the Commonwealth.”

“I’m pleased that the House has produced a legislative assistance package to aid the MBTAs and RTAs in order to offset debt and prevent further fare hikes in the immediate future,” said Chairman William Straus of the Joint Committee on Transportation. “I look forward to the outcome of the Massport feasibility study reports, as it is anticipated that findings will show additional cost-saving opportunities for public transit.”

This legislation first transfers $1.5 million in excess snow and ice removal funds to the regional transit authorities as supplemental assistance and also authorizes a one-time transfer of a total of $51 million from the Motor Vehicle Inspection Trust Fund to the MBTA and to the regional transit authorities for preventative maintenance expenses. This bill also increases fare evasion fines, which will provide additional aid to the transportation system. These funds will allow the MBTA to have a balanced budget for the next fiscal year.

Additionally, the legislation requires that MassDOT file a report to the House and Senate Ways and Means Committees and the Joint Committee on Transportation detailing the time needed to free the commuter boat service lots, piers, and the Fore River terminal from encumbrances in order to prepare these properties for appraisal and sale to Massport during FY 2013.