Jun 20

Representative John W. Scibak, a member of the Legislature’s Regional Transportation Caucus, said today that the state will invest an additional $3.5 million in regional transportation authorities, with another $3.5 million awaiting the results of the budget conference committee.

“My fellow caucus members and I feel that this is a validation of what we’ve been saying about RTAs all along,” Rep. Scibak said. “People residing in the western part of the state rely on the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority to take them to their jobs, to the doctor, on errands around town. Public transportation helps keep people connected and plays a vital role in keeping our economy moving. Our message is finally being heard on Beacon Hill.”

Both the House of Representatives and the Senate have approved a one-time funding increase of $3.5 million that will give RTAs a financial boost at the end of the current fiscal year. The Senate, as part of its fiscal ’13 budget proposal, approved a permanent $3.5 million increase in the base budget for RTAs. That provision was not included in the House version of the budget and is now subject to conference committee deliberations. Fiscal year ’13 begins July 1st.

“Even though our state continues to grapple with the current fiscal crisis, we cannot take public transportation and regional transportation authorities for granted,” Rep. Scibak said. “About two-thirds of allMassachusettscommunities are served by regional transportation authorities, adding up to more than 25 million rides a year. Clearly RTAs should be a priority for the entire Legislature and I know my fellow caucus members are eager to join me in continuing to make that case.”