Governor Vetoes $240 Million in MA State Transport Budget

Governor Deval Patrick signed into law the $33.6 billion annual state budget Friday, but used his veto powers to slash $240 million in transportation funding and $177 million in aid for cities and towns, a move that provoked an immediate outcry from local officials and state lawmakers.

The transportation veto includes a $115 million cut in funding for the MBTA -- about 10 percent of the agency’s operating budget.

Patrick argued that he had no other choice but to chop the programs because legislators have not yet approved a large tax increase that he says is necessary to balance the budget and finance the state’s long-neglected roads, rails, and bridges.

House leaders indicated that they will override the vetoes this week and send the governor a $500 million tax increase to balance the budget. That tax increase, however, is smaller than the hike Patrick is requesting.

(more on Massachusetts budget battles . . . )