In The News: Transportation

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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most about the roads and bridges they see every day — especially, he added, when they fear that they have become so outdated they are dangerous.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they’re thinking about their concerns over safety as they begin to appreciate how much of our infrastructure is obsolete or substandard.”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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Clash of the commuter rail titans

Jan 8 2014

By Gabrielle Gurley, CommonWealth Magazine

The MassDOT board will have to carefully consider the parameters that a new rail operator must meet under a longer initial contractual period of eight years versus five years under the current agreement. In their comments to the Globe, longtime MBTA observers Michael Widmer of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation and Paul Regan of the MBTA Advisory Board were circumspect about what a Keolis deal might mean. But they both cautioned that the pact could wind up being more expensive for the state if the new firm doesn't measure up or if the MBCR decides to pursue a lawsuit if the company loses out.
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STATE HOUSE ROUNDUP: A time to pause and give thanks

Dec 3 2013

By Matt Murphy, State House News Service / Plympton Reporter

“Any claim that that money isn’t for transportation is simply not true,” Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation President Michael Widmer said in a quote gleefully circulated by transportation advocates and ignored by gas-tax-indexing foes.
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To rail, or not to rail? Answer likely lies outside SouthCoast

Dec 1 2013

By Ariel Wittenberg, SouthCoast Today

Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, agreed. "It's not a value judgment on the project itself, it's the fact that it costs $2 billion," he said. Widmer said he questions the state's ability to afford South Coast Rail even though the Legislature recently passed a transportation bond bill that would fund the MBTA with taxes, allowing the state to use its borrowing capacity for capital projects.
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Law contradicts activists’ claims about Mass. gas tax use

Nov 26 2013

By Matt Murphy, State House News Service / Cape Code Times

“Any claim that that money isn’t for transportation is simply not true,” said Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation President Michael Widmer. “As you well know, the transportation financing law had a lot of moving pieces, but the clearest new transportation funding going to transportation are the taxes on gas and the gas tax indexing.”

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Little oversight when retired cops work details

Aug 18 2013

By Laura Krantz, North Attleboro Free Press

Michael J. Widmer, president of the non-profit government watchdog group Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, said within limits, it is reasonable for retired officers to earn extra. But, he said, "it does no use to place limits on this supplemental income if retirement boards or someone else are not monitoring its implementation."
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HEDLUND REPORT: It’s their party and they’ll tax if they want to!

Aug 6 2013

By Senator Bob Hedlund, Wicked Local Marshfield

The most foolish of all the latest tax increases that is sure to have the most negative impact is the new 6.25 percent sales tax on computer system design services and software services. Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, said it best when he warned the Governor and Legislature that “State leaders could hardly have chosen a more perfect tax to undercut the future of the Massachusetts economy. This is the most sweeping computer and software services tax in the nation. It strikes at the heart of the state’s innovation economy and will stifle job creation for years to come.”

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Massachusetts Foists Software Service Tax on Local Business

Aug 5 2013

By Christine Parizo, Internet Evolution

Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation has said in published reports that the tax could actually raise $500 million for the Commonwealth -- and cost Massachusetts, a hotbed of technology companies, quite a few jobs. In addition, implementing it so quickly will also take a toll on technology companies, particularly smaller systems integrators and independent consultants whose bread-and-butter clients are located in Massachusetts, as well as strain the resources of healthcare providers who often need customized software to, for example, ensure that hospital beds are provisioned efficiently.

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