In The News: Transportation

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Cops still roll in detail dough

Dec 8 2014

By Richard Weir, The Boston Herald

“Police details are expensive, which is why there have been efforts, largely futile, to move towards less expensive civilian flaggers,” said Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation. “But that experiment has largely failed. The reality is that police details are built deeply into the fabric of Massachusetts government and taxpayers pay a price for that.
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Transportation advocates worry Massachusetts gas tax indexing repeal will delay needed road and rail projects

Nov 11 2014

By Shira Schoenberg, Masslive

Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, a fiscal policy think tank, said the impact of the repeal will be huge. "There's is no way that many of the long-term projects that the Patrick administration has on the table can now be funded," Widmer said. "It will be up to the new administration to make a series of very tough choices because they're going to find out quickly enough they don't have enough money to fund basic maintenance of roads and bridges, never mind expansion."
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Transit officials say repeal could cost $1b over decade

Nov 6 2014

By Nicole Dungca, The Boston Globe

Michael J. Widmer, president of the Taxpayers Foundation, who helped campaign against the repeal, said the vote could have serious long-term consequences for transportation funding that was given a boost last year. “When one looks at all of the various initiatives that this administration and others have put forward over the long-term, this will have an enormous impact on the state’s ability to fund those projects,” he said.

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2 Perspectives On Question 1: Eliminating Massachusetts Gas Tax Indexing

Oct 28 2014

By Sacha Pfeiffer, Radio Boston

Michael Widmer: “This is a traditional form of taxation, namely adjusting it to inflation…When you get a cost of living increase, you pay more in income tax… This happens to be tied to cents rather than percents, but the distinction is meaningless. This is a very common form of taxation. Let me put it in context: the last time the gas tax was raised, before 2013, it was increased to 21 cents in 1991. By 2013, that was worth 12 cents because of the loss of purchasing power. Now obviously, we can’t maintain our roads and bridges, and we have road and bridges that are unsafe, in poor condition, and in public transit as well.”
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Business groups defend gas-tax indexing with big money to defeat Question 1

Oct 20 2014

By George Donnelly, Boston Business Journal

In the latest filing on the Massachusetts Office of Political and Campaign Finance, the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation and A Better City, all business membership groups, contributed to defeat the ballot question.
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Question 1 opponents: Indexing gas tax is crucial

Oct 16 2014

By Brian Benson, The Weston Town Crier

But Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation and an opponent of Question 1, said indexing the gas tax is similar to how some other taxes change. As the cost of goods rise, for example, people pay more dollars in sales tax.
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Ballot Question 1: Eliminating Gas Tax Indexing

Oct 9 2014

By Lana Jones, WBZ Radio

But Michael Widmer, head of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation said that is not accurate. “This is very common to have an adjustment to reflect increases in cost of living, both for taxes and for benefit,” Widmer said.
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Voters would pay for road fixes — close to home

Jul 24 2014

By Martine Powers, The Boston Globe

Andrew C. Bagley, director of research and public affairs at the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, said it’s natural for voters to care most about the roads and bridges they see every day — especially, he added, when they fear that they have become so outdated they are dangerous. “People understand the importance of transportation infrastructure,” Bagley said. “Particularly, they’re thinking about their concerns over safety as they begin to appreciate how much of our infrastructure is obsolete or substandard.”
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Dukakis ‘feeling pretty good’ about North South Rail Link

Apr 14 2014

By Michael Norton, State House New Service / Norwood Transcript

Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation President Michael Widmer said the business-backed group has not taken a position on the rail link project, but called it "far too expensive to ever imagine it would be built." "It will be at least 4 or 5 or 6 billion dollars," Widmer said. "We simply don’t have those funds. In theory, would it be desirable? Yes. The reality is, where are we going to get that money? There’s a general sentiment that it’s just too expensive to consider."
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RMV fee increase to be approved Wednesday

Mar 12 2014

By Martine Powers, The Boston Globe

Bagley acknowledged that it will be a jarring one-two-three punch for motorists next year, when the gas tax increase of 2013 and the registry fee hike of 2014 will probably be followed by higher tolls. Tolls are likely to increase by 5 percent, Bagley said, adding that “it’s not going to be a significant pocketbook hit,” but the trio of new costs may heighten interest in pursuing other tolls in the region to ease the impact on Massachusetts Turnpike commuters.
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