Gov. Baker calls for $18B investment in Mass. transportation

BOSTON — Gov. Charlie Baker announced a plan on Thursday calling for $18 billion to go toward improving the transportation system throughout the state.

"We understand that our residents are frustrated by congested roads.  And we understand that for the MBTA and Commuter Rail riders the system is only as good as the last time that their trip was delayed," Baker said.

The money breakdown includes $5.7 billion to modernize the MBTA, $150 million to improve state roads, $20 million to encourage more people to walk and bike and $70 million for bridges.

It comes at a time of repeated problems with the MBTA, including the recent derailment on the Red Line that led to significant delays and caused much frustration among commuters who rely on it.

The governor didn't address the problems, only saying, the added money will improve the system's reliability, replacing the entire Orange and Red Lines by 2023.

"This will create an additional 85,000 seats, reduce crowding and avoid more delays," Gov. Baker said.

MBTA General Manager Steven Poftak agrees it's a major improvement and hopefully will be welcomed by those who use the T.

"The end result will be a more reliable system that meets the needs of the region for decades to come," Poftak said.

This plan also encourages companies to allow their employees to work from home by offering a tax credit of $2,000 per employee.

The governor hopes to get this plan passed in the fall.

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