State Senator Joe Boncore spoke at the May 2019 meeting of the North End / Waterfront Neighborhood Council (NEWNC) with a series of budget updates relevant to the community. Sen. Boncore gave special recognition to the efforts of State Rep. Aaron Michlewitz in his new role as Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee. The Senator also thanked the council members and new candidates for giving back to the North End community by serving on the council.
As Chair of the Senate Housing Committee, Sen. Boncore spoke about the new housing bill aimed at bringing more affordable options to metro Boston. “We are not producing enough housing across the State,” he said. In addition, the Senator has filed new legislation to lower the voting requirements around zoning along public transit areas.
This year, Sen. Boncore is Chair of the Senate Transportation Committee. “It’s a pretty ugly picture,” he said regarding the state of transit in Massachusetts. “We’ve really fallen behind and have the 8th worst congestion of all cities in the world,” he added. “It is going to require a significant amount of investment.”
Questions (07:30 in video) centered around infrastructure spending and the sorry state of the MBTA. The Senator agreed with the criticism surrounding the State’s transportation system, indicating that $7.5 billion is required to catch up. “We need a big cash infusion but new tax bills are always difficult conversations,” he added. The Green Line extension alone is a $4 billion project.
“The gas tax isn’t enough,” said Sen. Boncore, “especially as electric vehicles come on the roads. We need to look at other options.” If the money can be found, Boncore believes the best investment is in our core public transit system. “There are 96,000 Uber rides a day in the Commonwealth. We need to make public transportation a more attractive option,” he added.