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Marty Walsh Wants To Tax Your UberX — And Other Takeaways From Walsh's Legislative Wishlist03:42
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A sign directs Lyft and Uber riders to a designated pickup location at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta, Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018. (David Goldman/AP)
A sign directs Lyft and Uber riders to a designated pickup location at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta, Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018. (David Goldman/AP)

Every year Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and his team draw up a list of proposed bills for the state Legislature. In 2019, six of them will focus on environment and transportation.

Here's a rundown of those six:

An Act To Update Transportation Network Company Assessments

In 2017 there were roughly 64 million rideshare trips in the Massachusetts, and 35 million of those originated in Boston, according to Chris Osgood, the city's chief of the Streets, Transportation and Sanitation. That's a lot of cars creating traffic jams and smog.

This law would "better align [legislation] with the state’s and city’s climate and mobility goals," said Osgood. In other words, to encourage people to walk, bike or take the T, the law would tax solo Uber/Lyft trips higher than shared trips.

An Act To Modernize Our Natural Gas Infrastructure

Gas leaks spew methane and kill trees. "We just really need to incentivize getting those leaks fixed," says Chris Cook, Boston's chief of Environment, Energy, and Open Space. The proposed law would "impose a fine on natural gas providers for the total volume of all gas leaks," according to the bill.

An Act To Establish A Commission For A Climate Ready Commonwealth 

Climate change is coming, and Boston can't face it alone. According to the language of the bill, this law would encourage teamwork by creating "a regional commission to determine which entity should lead major coastal and inland resiliency projects, how such projects might be funded and how those projects should be prioritized."

An Act To Promote Safe Streets And Reduce Congestion

Don't block the box! And don't veer around school buses. This law, the bill says, would "allow photo enforcement for school buses with cameras to capture violations when the STOP arm is deployed and for addressing Blocking the Box traffic violations."

An Act To Allow Parking Assessments For Infrastructure Investment 

A broader tax on parking could bring in more money for bicycle and pedestrian pathways. Gina Fiandaca, the city’s transportation commissioner, says the city might also use the money to fund electric vehicle infrastructure, like charging stations.

An Act To Allow Regional Ballot Initiatives

More teamwork! This law would give cities and towns a way to band together and fund a specific transportation project. Dedicated bus lane, anyone?

And, there were a few things not mentioned in Walsh's plan — notably, regulating scooters and a congestion tax.

This segment aired on January 8, 2019.

Related:

Barbara Moran Twitter Senior Producing Editor, Environment
Barbara Moran is the senior producing editor for WBUR’s environmental vertical.

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