Gov. Charlie Baker Proposes $135 Million MBTA Investment

By Matt Murphy, State House News Service

BOSTON (State House News Service) — A day after blaming ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft for clogging roads and operating with "little oversight," Gov. Charlie Baker is proposing to hike the per-ride fees on such services by 80 cents and to use much of the new funding to help the MBTA.

The fee increase on ride-hailing service trips to $1 per ride is part of the governor's strategy to boost funding for public transit in his new state budget proposal. 

The fiscal 2021 budget that Baker plans to file on Wednesday would increase support for the MBTA by a total of $134.8 million, and comes as House Speaker Robert DeLeo is calling for a new, dedicated funding stream to support the T and looking at solutions such as an increase in the gas tax to generate new revenue.

The governor's proposal would generate an estimated $120 million in ride fees, up about $100 million from the current fee of 20 cents, according to the administration.

Municipalities would get 30 percent of all money generated, while the state would get 70 percent for use on transportation and the T. The current fee revenues are split evenly in half.

Baker's budget would also increase support for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation by $77.6 million, directing $423.5 million toward the agency that Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack said would include enough money for the Registry of Motor Vehicles and the Merit Rating Board to continue implementing safety reforms following last year's scandal involving unprocessed driving violations from out-of-state.

Baker, in his State of the Commonwealth address on Tuesday, said that traffic is no longer a problem just during rush hour. "Transportation Network Companies provide a valuable service, but they clog our roads and operate with very little oversight," the governor said, urging the Legislature to pass legislation he has filed to better manage where and when ride-hailing services operate.

WBZ NewsRadio's Karyn Regal (Karynregal) reports

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