Urges plans for “21ST Century Transportation System for 21st Century Economy”
On behalf of the Massachusetts Metropolitan Mayors’ Coalition, Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone testified before the Joint Committee on Transportation at the State House on Tuesday, March 26, reaffirming his support for the bill, as well as the Governor’s plan, which calls for $1.9 billion in new revenue in order to appropriately finance the Commonwealth’s transportation system.
During his testimony, Mayor Curtatone praised Governor Patrick and his Administration on the extensive repair work that has already been completed, but also drew attention to the state of neglect that many of the Commonwealth’s highways and bridges still exist in. He also spoke about the many benefits that the public and the region at large could reap with a more encompassing and long-term transportation plan.
“We need a 21st century transportation system for a 21st century economy,” said Mayor Curtatone. “The economy cannot improve, or reach anything like its full potential, without a first-class, multimodal transportation system to support it.”
The Mayor also praised the role of transit in Somerville’s own urban revitalization, including the investment the City is already receiving from the future Orange Line station in Assembly Square and from the future Green Line Extension in Brickbottom, Union Square and Gilman Square.
“You can already see the value of this investment in Somerville,” said Mayor Curtatone.
“With the addition of rapid transit at Assembly Square, the first new MBTA station since 1987, we have seen more than $1 billion of private investment in that 145 acres, and we look forward to 2,500 new housing units, 3 million square feet of commercial space and the addition of 23,000 new permanent jobs added to the economy, with thousands more construction jobs. All-in-all, this will generate $17 million in property tax revenue and tens of millions broad-based tax revenue for the Commonwealth.”
The Mayor urged legislators to provide thoughtful and necessary improvements to transportation financing, as the risk of not doing so would be devastating to the future economic prospects of the Commonwealth.
“We’re still playing catch up after years of neglect, short-sightedness and shortcuts that only deepened the transportation crisis in MA,” he said. “Our businesses are completely dependent on the ability to move goods and people with efficiency and reliability – and that one of the great truths of American life is that economic growth follows transportation infrastructure. You can’t have one without the other.”