June 29, 2009
To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives:
Pursuant to Article LVI, as amended by Article XC, Section 3 of the Amendments to the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, I am returning to you for amendment Section 21 of House Bill No. 4129, "An Act Making Appropriations for the Fiscal Year 2010 for the Maintenance of the Departments, Boards, Commissions, Institutions and Certain Activities of the Commonwealth, for Interest, Sinking Fund and Serial Bond Requirements and for Certain Permanent Improvements."
This section establishes a Commonwealth Transportation Fund to provide funding for the transportation reform legislation that I recently approved. But this fund is inconsistent in several ways with a fund with the same name established in the enacted transportation reform statute. Therefore, I am returning this section with recommended amendments to ensure consistency.
For these reasons, I recommend that Section 21 be amended by striking out the text and inserting in place thereof the following text:-
SECTION 21. Chapter 29 of the General Laws is hereby amended by striking out section 2ZZZ, inserted by section 35 of chapter 24 of the acts of 2009, and inserting in place thereof the following section:-
Section 2ZZZ. (a)There shall be established and set up on the books of the commonwealth a separate fund to be known as the Commonwealth Transportation Fund, which shall be used exclusively for financing transportation-related purposes. There shall be credited to the fund all fees received by the registrar of motor vehicles pursuant to section 34 of chapter 90, all receipts paid into the treasury of the commonwealth and directed to be credited to the Commonwealth Transportation Fund pursuant to chapters 64A, 64E, 64F and any other applicable general or special law and all amounts appropriated into the fund by the general court. The fund shall be subject to appropriation and shall be used for transportation related expenses of the executive office of transportation or any successor agency or authority, including to pay or reimburse the General Fund for payment of debt service on bonds issued by, or otherwise payable pursuant to a lease or other contract assistance agreement by, the commonwealth for transportation purposes.
(b) Notwithstanding subsection (a), the crediting of receipts from the tax imposed pursuant to chapter 64A to the fund shall not affect the obligations of the commonwealth relating to notes issued pursuant to sections 9 to 10D, inclusive, of chapter 11 of the acts of 1997 and the pledge of receipts from the portion of the tax per gallon imposed pursuant to said chapter 64A equal to 10 cents per gallon, to secure the payment of such bonds under the circumstances described in the trust agreements relating to such notes is hereby ratified and confirmed in all respects and shall remain in full force and effect as long as any such notes issued as of July 1, 2009 remain outstanding in accordance with their terms and secured by funds in the fund.
(c) In addition to those revenues credited to the fund pursuant to subsection (a), beginning in fiscal year 2011, there shall be credited to the fund all monies received by the commonwealth equal to .385 percent of the receipts from sales, as defined by chapter 64H, and .385 per cent of the sales price of purchases, as defined by chapter 64I, from that portion of the taxes imposed under said chapters 64H and 64I as excises upon the sale and use at retail of tangible property or of services, and upon the storage, use or other consumption of tangible property, or of services, including interest thereon or penalties, but not including any portion of the taxes that constitute special receipts within the meaning of subsection (b ½) of section 10 of chapter 152 of the acts of 1997 or within the meaning of said subsection (b ½). If in a fiscal year the amount credited to the fund under this subsection is less than $275,000,000, then the comptroller shall transfer an amount from the General Fund to make up the difference between the amount credited to the fund and $275,000,000, not later than September 1 of the following fiscal year.
(d) Annually, beginning in fiscal year 2011, not less than the following amounts from the fund shall be distributed to the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority and regional transit authorities:
(1) $160,000,000 to the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority or any fund controlled by the authority in each fiscal year; and
(2) $15,000,000 to regional transit authorities organized under chapter 161B or predecessor statutes in each fiscal year.