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Policy Agenda: Transportation

Introduction/Background

Mass. High Tech Council members and technology-focused organizations throughout Massachusetts are increasingly concerned with and impacted by the condition of Massachusetts’ transportation infrastructure and its inability to support current needs and future economic growth.

The quality of transportation infrastructure and operations has significant impacts on employers’ operations, ability to recruit and retain talented workers, costs, and the overall quality of life in Massachusetts.

Failing or inadequate transportation infrastructure prevents employees from getting to and from work in a timely and reliable manner, impedes the delivery of products to market and creates traffic and gridlock that sap productivity and contribute significantly to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.

Council members are concerned about the pace of innovation in how transportation infrastructure and systems are planned, designed, built, operated and maintained.

Key Data and Metrics

  • Massachusetts’ costs to build and maintain each mile of state-controlled road is the 3d highest in the nation and four times the national average cost. (Source: MATTERS/Reason Foundation)
  • Massachusetts workers have the 5th longest average commute time in the country. (Source: US Census)
  • Overall state and local spending in Massachusetts is among the highest per capita in the country. Only 5 states spend more according to the latest data in MATTERS. (Source: MATTERS/Tax Foundation)
  • In FY18, the Commonwealth collected $9.2 billion more revenue than it did just a decade previously. Revenues are up 50% compared to FY09. (Source: Executive Office of Administration & Finance)

Policy Priorities

The Mass. High Tech Council’s Board of Directors has identified improvements to transportation infrastructure throughout the Commonwealth, including mass transit, roads and bridges and air travel, as a priority policy area in need of urgent attention by policymakers and the business community.

The Council’s priorities and positions are based on the following core principles:

  • Investment without innovation will not solve our transportation challenges.
  • It is premature to focus on new revenues and additional taxes right now.
  • We must first assess how we are meeting our shared priorities with the resources we have and how those resources are being utilized.
  • Stakeholders and policymakers must approach that assessment in a collaborative, data driven way with minimal tolerance for inefficiency and waste.

Solving our transportation challenges will require business, civic and political leaders to continually assess following:

  • Is Massachusetts pursuing the correct priorities?
  • Is Massachusetts embracing innovation?
  • Is Massachusetts spending and managing the resources provided by taxpayers and users in the most efficient and effective ways possible?

The Council is committed to advancing the following specific priorities and looks forward to partnering with the legislature, Baker Administration, and federal lawmakers and administrators to drive innovative and effective approaches to solve our shared transportation challenges, including through the implementation of selected recommendations of the Future of Transportation Commission in order to:

  • Explore new public-private models to fund, operate and govern our key transportation infrastructure and systems;
  • Embrace innovation in emerging technologies and smart connected products through the proposed Transportation Technology Transformation Initiative to partner public and private resources with innovators; and
  • Streamline and modernize public construction laws to optimize innovation and efficiency in the design, construction, operation and maintenance of transportation infrastructure and systems.

Leaders of Massachusetts’ Innovation Economy

Leaders of Massachusetts’ innovation economy have much to accomplish in the next few years.

The Council distinguishes itself by specializing in complex, multi-year public policy strategies in support of conditions that protect and enhance a strong Massachusetts economy.

Learn more, contact Bernie Prusaczyk.

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