Reporting Jon Keller
BOSTON (CBS) – Massachusetts, like many other states, is facing a host of fiscal issues.
Lt. Gov. Tim Murray recently sat down with WBZ’s Jon Keller to discuss those issues and any potential solutions.
Have we made any progress with our recently consolidated transit system?
“I think we’ve made some progress. We’ve reduced the number of structurally deficient bridges. We have repaved roads. We have improved a lot of the rail infrastructure. So, we have made some progress, but there’s still significant challenges, and I think when we had the whole reform before revenue debate a few years ago, it was institute these reforms, ring out savings, hundreds of millions of dollars have been saved, but that we were gonna then have to have a conversation about how do we have a sustainable system going forward, and I think that time in the next year or two to have that discussion,” said Lt. Gov. Murray.
Sec. of Transportation Richard Davey recently said it would take more than a modest fare increase to make a dent in the T’s projected deficit. Is Murray ready to endorse a major fare increase?
“What I’m willing to endorse is a conversation about how we identify revenue, money, could be partly fare, could be a combination of things. But, we have to have a conversation about how we’re going to pay for rapid transit, how we’re going to pay for roads and bridges, how we’re going to pay for rail infrastructure that allows us to compete, and it’s gonna take some revenue, there’s no doubt,” said Lt. Gov. Murray.
When should this conversation about the transportation budget begin?
“I think (the conversation) needs to happen in the next year or two. My sense is get into next year. Let’s have how we’re gonna pay for the transportation system for the next 20 years. Part of the challenge is that we inherited so much of this debt because people weren’t willing to say, ‘Here’s the system, here are its annual operating costs.’ They borrowed to pay for it. They did not have the operating capital to do it,” said Murray.
You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. and 12:25 p.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.