Politics & Government
5:00 pm
Tue April 9, 2013

Patrick, Legislature Seek Middle Ground on Transit Funding

Gov. Deval Patrick, Senate President Therese Murray and House Speaker Robert DeLeo

The political fight to overhaul Massachusetts' transportation infrastructure is now a numbers game.

Gov. Deval Patrick called for compromise after the House all but gutted his vision to fix the state's transportation needs.

Patrick said he’ll split the difference between his $1.9 billion tax hike and the House and Senate’s $500 million one.

“There’s a way to get to a number that is in the middle between where I started and where the house is in their vote, and at that level, do something important and long-term and do lasting good in transportation and education,” Patrick said.

But Senate President Therese Murray said the income tax hike the governor wants is out of the question. She said the governor has been working behind the scenes to stall a Senate vote on the tax plan.

“I understand the governor has asked them to delay the bill for as long as they can, but we’ll keep at it until we get to take it up and hopefully pass it,” Murray said.

Patrick said he’s been talking to rank-and-file senators about amending the bill, but he hasn’t spoken to directly to Murray or House Speaker Robert DeLeo about a compromise.

One key political issue: If the Senate and House pass $500 million tax packages, would it be with enough votes to override a threatened veto by Patrick?

The House vote was 97 to 55, short of what would be needed to override a veto.

Murray said she’s not sure if she’ll have enough votes to override a veto in the Senate, either.

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