Gov. Charlie Baker unveiled plans for $18 billion in long-term transportation spending, calling for additional spending on the MBTA and for what he described as an unprecedented tax credit to promote telecommuting.
The bill contains language creating a $2,000-per-employee tax credit, capped at $50 million per year, awarded to businesses that allow working from home as a way of reducing the number of cars clogging up roadways. Baker said that while similar ideas have been proposed elsewhere, Massachusetts would be the first state in the nation to implement such an incentive.
In a press conference alongside Department of Transportation and MBTA officials, Baker said the bill would also fund additional service enhancements at the MBTA and in bridge repairs and would authorize up to half of the revenue from the in-development, multi-state Transportation Climate Initiative to be invested in public transit.
About $2.7 billion in the bill would be added on top of the MBTA's existing five-year, $8 billion capital plan, Baker said, money intended to allow the agency to make more rapid improvements. The bill also creates a new $1.25 billion financing program for "next-generation" bridge maintenance.
Transportation bond bills pass through the Legislature every few years to cover capital spending for major transit needs.
In 2014, the Legislature approved a $12.7 billion, five-year transportation bond bill that included the South Coast Rail construction, which broke ground this year, and South Station expansion, which remains under study.