Boston's South Station. South Station. PHOTO BY NICOLAUS CZARNECKI/METRO
With no public debate, House lawmakers Wednesday night passed a $12 billion transportation borrowing bill that included $300 million for local road and bridge repairs for fiscal year 2015.
It included $2.2 billion for the South Coast Rail, along with scores of local projects. The bill also included a provision to rename South Station in Boston after former Gov. Michael Dukakis. The train station will be known as the “Governor Michael S. Dukakis Transportation Center at South Station.”
After raising gas and tobacco taxes last year to help pay for transportation system investments, lawmakers settled in for a much quieter discussion about what to include in the five-year borrowing bill.
The debate did not take place on the House floor, but in private discussions between members throughout the day. With 262 amendments filed to the bill, House leaders spent the day, and into the late evening, working behind the scenes to determine which ones to pass or reject through an informal process that allows amendments to be consolidated. Rep. William Straus, (D-Mattapoisett) co-chair of the Joint Committee on Transportation, worked his way around the chamber all evening speaking to members. More than 150 amendments were swept into one consolidated amendment, and adopted without debate.
The bill (H 3860) passed 151 to 0 just before 11 p.m. Wednesday.