Berkshire Delegation Seeks More Funds for BRTA
Mass. State Reps. Smitty Pignatelli and John Barrett have filed an amendment to the House budget which would add 10 percent to the proposed funding level for regional transportation authorities.
The budget as proposed by both Gov. Charlie Baker and the House Ways and Means Committee set statewide regional transportation spending at $80.4 million, $2.5 million of which would go to the BRTA. That figure caused the BRTA to announce possible service cuts and fare hikes, claiming a budget shortfall. The amendment would increase the statewide amount to $88.81 million. Rep. Barrett told the Berkshire Eagle the new figure would bring the BRTA back to a "level of sustainability."
According to Barrett, Berkshire County has kicked in more than $150 million to the Boston region's MBTA through the sales tax over the past 3 years that the BRTA has been level-funded. Pignatelli said the situation "frustrates" him and the Berkshire delegation, including Reps.Tricia Farley-Bouvier and Paul Mark, who have signed on to the amendment. The South County rep. said "I think we need to recognize public transportation is just as important to the Berkshires as it is to Boston."
The House is scheduled to take up the budget and its proposed amendments starting today.