DeLeo mostly mum on transit goals

In chamber speech, he largely ignores business group’s plea

THE GREATER BOSTON CHAMBER OF COMMERCE pressed for new user fees dedicated to transit and road improvement in a policy brief earlier this week, but House Speaker Robert DeLeo largely ignored the business group’s plea when he addressed the organization on Friday.

DeLeo didn’t mention transportation in his speech to the group, and, in response to a question about the policy brief from chamber president and CEO James Rooney, the speaker offered few specifics. He lamented the fact that voters in 2014 overturned a state law that would have indexed the gas tax to inflation, and he hinted vaguely that he might support some form of new revenue for transportation.

Asked what new revenue he would support after his speech, DeLeo said he supports the millionaire tax, which must survive a court challenge and win at the ballot in November to become part of the Massachusetts constitution.

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About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

“In addition to that, as we’re talking about new taxes, we’ll probably be talking about that, whether it’s marijuana, whether it’s Airbnb, or whatever it may be,” DeLeo said. “I know and I think everybody knows that transportation is a key issue if we’re going to continue to grow not only as an economy but grow as Massachusetts.”

DeLeo declined to say whether transportation would receive any dedicated revenues from the other smaller taxes. “I’m not saying that that’s what it’s going to be, that there’s going to be a direct revenue source. But it could be indirectly for some of the transportation needs,” he said.

In its policy brief, the chamber called for new user fees dedicated to road and public transit and the development of a broad vision for transportation in the region. “Rather than ad-hoc fare and gas tax increases, the state should develop a long-range plan to fund investments in transportation infrastructure,” the brief said.