Governor Deval Patrick's Budget Recommendation - House 1 Fiscal Year 2010

Governor's Budget Recommendation FY 2010

Highway Fund

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Governor Patrick    FY2010 House 1 Budget Recommendation:
    Policy Brief

    Deval L. Patrick, Governor
    Timothy P. Murray, Lt. Governor


Governor’s Proposal

Governor Patrick's fiscal year 2010 budget lays the foundation for broader reform proposals by improving transparency and accountability for transportation finance. In the recent State of the Commonwealth address, Governor Patrick noted that for far too long the state's transportation system - and the means by which we pay for it - has been "a cluster of tangled knots". Funding the Commonwealth's transportation infrastructure and programs by the Legislature and previous administrations has been through an antiquated system of confusing splits between different sources, making it difficult to identify transportation-related revenue and transportation-related expenses. For example, in the past, certain Registry of Motor Vehicle fees have flowed directly to the Highway Fund, while others have flowed directly to the General Fund. Similarly, certain transportation-related expenses have been paid from the Highway Fund, and others have been paid from the General Fund. Governor Patrick's FY10 budget changes the use of "fund splits" to more accurately reflect true revenues and spending for transportation programs.

The Governor's fiscal year 2010 budget simplifies and clarifies funding for transportation by directing all transportation-related revenues, expenditures and debt service on bonds issued for transportation purposes, to the Highway Fund. The Highway Fund accounts for highway user taxes, including the gas tax as mandated by the Accelerated Bridge Program legislation, and Registry of Motor Vehicle fees. The fund is used to finance highway maintenance, safety services and provides support for Regional Transit Authorities. The debt service paid from the fund supports road and bridge construction, providing mobility and economic opportunity for the citizens of the Commonwealth. This chart depicts revenues and expenditures for the Highway Fund.

The fiscal year 2010 budget consolidates sixteen transportation agency line items to eight under the umbrella of Executive Office of Transportation and Public Works. The siloed nature of our funding works against the Administration's progress towards effectively managing statewide transportation systems and efficiently using our transportation related resources. It offers maximum flexibility to the Executive Office to manage with limited resources. The consolidated account is still managed in a manner that requires specificity around how the dollars are spent; funding for payroll is tracked separately than funding for contract assistance to Regional Transit Authorities.

For citizens, Governor Patrick's proposal provides the public with a more transparent and accurate accounting of our transportation revenues, and expenses and the extent to which transportation expenses need to be subsidized by non-transportation-related General Fund receipts. It also ensures that our gas taxes, registry fees and other transportation-related revenues will be appropriately dedicated to the care and maintenance of our highways, roads, bridges and other transportation infrastructure and to the services provided by the Commonwealth to users of our transportation systems.

The Governor and his Administration remain committed to sweeping and historic reforms to our transportation bureaucracy; reforms that will save taxpayers, toll payers, and fare payers tens of millions of dollars, while making our transportation system more efficient and more customer-friendly.

Prepared by the Executive Office for Administration and Finance · Rooms 373 & 272 · State House
For more information contact:
Thomas Dugan (

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