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Mass. House Debates Transportation Finance Bill

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By BOB SALSBERG, Associated Press

BOSTON (AP) — The House of Representatives has opened debate on a transportation financing bill that Gov. Deval Patrick has promised to veto if it reaches his desk without major changes.

The bill being considered Monday would raise more than $500 million in new tax revenue, including a 3 cent hike in the state’s gasoline tax.

Patrick, who is seeking an increase in the state income tax, says the bill before the House does not go far enough to address the state’s long-term transportation needs.

Rep. William Strauss, chair of the House Transportation committee, said as the debate began that if the governor’s veto threat were to succeed, fares would go up on the MBTA and tolls could rise for motorists.

Strauss urged lawmakers not to play a “game of roulette” with their constituents.