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Mass. Senate Passes Transportation Finance Bill

boston capital buildingBOSTON (AP) — The Massachusetts Senate has approved a transportation financing overhaul that calls for about $500 million in new taxes.

Senators voted 30-5 to pass the bill Saturday after considering dozens of amendments during nearly 10 hours of debate.

The bill likely will now go to a conference committee to resolve differences with a House version approved earlier in the week.

Democratic Gov. Deval (deh-VAL’) Patrick has criticized the bill for not doing enough to solve the state’s long-term transportation needs. But he has called the Senate version a step in the right direction because it dedicates more revenue to transportation.

The bill calls for a 3 cent-per-gallon increase in the gas tax and a $1-per-pack boost in the cigarette tax.