Speaker Vows Lawmakers Will Address MBTA Woes

Lawmakers will take steps to address public transportation woes during the legislative session now under way on Beacon Hill, House Speaker Robert Deleo said Wednesday.

"We are each aware of how this unprecedented series of snowstorms has affected us all - especially those who rely on the MBTA," DeLeo told House members during his annual address to the chamber.

The Boston-area transit system has been overwhelmed by a series of recent snowstorms, leading to massive delays, stranded trains and a more than 24-hour shutdown of rail service this week. MBTA officials have cited aging equipment as a major factor in the breakdowns.

DeLeo, a Winthrop Democrat, said he had already had numerous conversations about the T with Republican Gov. Charlie Baker and Democratic Senate President Stanley Rosenberg.

"We will work together to fix this problem," DeLeo said.

The speaker did not offer in his speech any specific proposals for the T, but made clear any solution would not involve new taxes. He said the House version of the state budget for the next fiscal year starting July 1 would not include any increases in state taxes or fees.

Other priorities for the two-year legislative session that began last month include expanding pre-kindergarten education, promoting renewable energy sources and further addressing the state's opiate abuse crisis, DeLeo said.

DeLeo is in his fourth term as speaker. The House rules eliminated a term limits provision that would have prevented him serving in the leadership post beyond January 2016. DeLeo has not yet said he if he planned to continue as speaker beyond the current term.

This article was originally published on February 11, 2015.



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