Massachusetts House and Senate leaders crafted a compromise transportation bill that would generate $500 million by raising cigarette and gasoline taxes and restore tolls on the western end of the Massachusetts Turnpike.
The plan by a conference committee, which both chambers are scheduled to debate Wednesday afternoon, would close the $118 million deficit for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority and move personnel costs from the MBTA's parent, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, off the capital budget over the next three years.
Should lawmakers approve the plan, it would spare commuters a fare increase from the MBTA for fiscal 2014, which begins Sunday. Last year riders received a 23% hike.
Turnpike tolls would return for passenger vehicles between exits 1 and 6, from the New York state line to Interstate 291 just outside Springfield. The governor at that time, William Weld, eliminated tolls for that stretch in 1996.
The gas tax would rise by 3 cents to 26.5 cents per gallon, while the cigarette tax would increase to $3.51 per pack, up by $1.
In addition, the plan guarantees $805 million in new transportation sources by fiscal 2018 and redirects revenues from the underground storage tank surcharge to transportation.
"The transportation finance agreement establishes a framework for targeted statewide investment in our transportation infrastructure and programs," said House Ways and Means chair Rep. Brian Dempsey, D-Haverhill.