House Approves Campbell and Vargas Amendments for Haverhill Transit Projects

State Rep. Andy X. Vargas. (Courtesy photograph.)

Reps. Linda Dean Campbell and Andy X. Vargas recently filed amendments to a state transportation borrowing bill that provides additional money for Haverhill transportation projects.

As part of the Massachusetts House’ passage of a $18.3 billion bond, members approved a Vargas amendment to add $100 million for the Haverhill Rail Line Early Action Capacity Program and $50,000 for the Haverhill Transportation Alliance and Campbell amendments to add $3.13 million for an intersection redesign at Marston’s corner, Methuen, and $350,000 for an extension to Bradford Rail Trail so that it connects to the Bradford commuter rail station.

“From the Basiliere bridge, to our highways, MVRTA and Haverhill commuter rail line—it is evident that the status of our transportation system is unsatisfactory at best and detrimental to our economy at worst,” Vargas said. He added, “That’s why I’m thrilled that the House took up and passed serious transportation legislation. The direct investments in Haverhill will greatly benefit Haverhill residents, seniors and businesses that rely on a strong transportation system. I’m thankful for my colleagues in the House that cosponsored our massive $100 million investment to improve and increase service frequency on the Haverhill commuter rail line.”

The Haverhill Rail Line Early Action Capacity Program includes double tracking at Ballardvale and level boarding at several stations on the Haverhill line. It also includes additional train service along the entire line.

The legislation also included $700,000 to Haverhill for road repairs—known as Chapter 90 aid—projecting a 50% increase in such grants.

Rep. Linda Dean Campbell. (Courtesy photograph)

“Currently, our roads and bridges are not as safe as they must be. In recent years, the federal government has provided little support, and the small five cent-per-gallon increase will restore the purchasing power of the gas tax to its 1991 level,” Campbell said in a statement. “It is important to note though that the prices of asphalt and steel have increased at a rate far greater than inflation so we are buying considerably less maintenance with every tax dollar.”

Besides the gasoline tax, money to cover the spending is proposed to come from an increase in Massachusetts corporate minimum tax, with an exemption for small business; a requirement that rental car companies pay sales tax on vehicles they buy; a tax increase on ride-hailing services; and a commission on tolling.

The Senate is expected to take up the bill in May.

Comments are closed.