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House Lawmakers Debate Transportation Changes

The Massachusetts House debates legislation Tuesday that could completely reorganize the state's transportation agencies.

The legislation would roll the MBTA, the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority, and the Massachusetts Highway Department all into one new mega-authority called The Massachusetts Surface Transportation Authority, or MassTrans. The Senate passed the bill last month.

MassTrans could save the state up to seven billion dollars over the next twenty years. However, the new authority would also inherit a combined $10 billion in debt currently held by the T and the Turnpike Authority. The bill does not address if and how the state would raise transportation related revenues.

However, House and Senate leadership say they will tackle the revenue question, including Governor Deval Patrick's proposal to raise the state gas tax, later this spring.

This program aired on April 7, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.

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