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Western Mass are footing the bill on gas tax?
In Massachusetts, the current proposal to raise the gas tax is stirring up some bad memories for folks in the western part of the state.
“Massachusetts has always had an issue about people out west thinking people out east are getting more than a fair share of things,” says one concerned resident in Pittsfield.
While many lawmakers east of Worcester seem to support the tax hike, many to the west do not.
Representative Tricia Farley-Bouvier, of the 3rd Berkshire district says, “I think the gas tax is an unfair burden to the Berkshires and the people of western Massachusetts.”
Farley-Bouvier says while it may seem that a per gallon gas tax would affect all areas equally, it would not.
“We do not have the public transportation options they have in Boston and the other big cities.”
More people in eestern Massachusetts have to rely on their cars, using more gas, paying more tax.
Making matters worse, Farley-Bouvier says, the tax money will likely be spent, almost entirely, in and around Boston.
“Any expansion projects, transportation expansion, will happen in the eastern part of the state and there’s really no chance for expansion projects in the western part of the state.”
Farley-Bouvier says she likes parts of the tax hike proposal, which also includes a wide reaching tax increase on tobacco products. But with the gas tax portion, she cannot support it. Though she expects to be in the minority when it comes to a vote on Monday.
“I’m getting the impression it has broad support in the house.”
“If everyone were paying fairly across the state, I would be less concerned.”