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Mass. Transportation Overhaul Detailed In New Bill

This article is more than 10 years old.

Highlights of the transportation overhaul plan presented to House and Senate members for enactment on Thursday:

LEADERSHIP
Transportation services are consolidated under the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. It is headed by a five-member board appointed by the governor, one of whom will serve as chairman. Only three can come from one party. Day-to-day operations are overseen by a chief executive officer, also known as the transportation secretary.

REVISED STRUCTURE
Transportation services broken into four divisions: Registry of Motor Vehicles, Highway, Mass Transit and Aeronautics. The Massachusetts Port Authority remains a separate entity, but Tobin Bridge operations shift to state. Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority also remains separate, but under the MassDOT umbrella.

FINANCING
Governor and Legislature control Commonwealth Transportation Fund, which uses gasoline tax and Registry fee revenues to pay for debt service. MassDOT oversees Transportation Trust Fund, which receives all other revenues, including Turnpike, tunnel and bridge tolls, and is used to finance daily operations and maintenance.

HIGHWAYS
MassDOT Highway Division operates all roads and bridges, including Turnpike, Tobin Bridge and urban Division of Conservation and Recreation parkways. Employee salaries will be paid with operating revenues, not capital funds. Turnpike Authority eliminated as of Jan. 1, 2010. Pike Big Dig debt becomes responsibility of MassDOT.

PENSIONS
MBTA pension provision allowing workers to retire as soon as they acquire 23 years of service is eliminated - for future employees - as of July 1. Afterward, all T workers must remain for 25 years and reach age 55 before being eligible for retirement.

REGISTRY OF MOTOR VEHICLES
Registry continues to provide driver licenses, ID cards, vehicle titles and registrations.

STATE POLICE
Consolidates Troop E, which patrols Massachusetts Turnpike, into remainder of Massachusetts State Police.
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SOURCE: House-Senate Transportation Conference Committee

This program aired on June 18, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.

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