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State Senate approves $49 million for MBTA

The state Senate agreed Tuesday evening to tap $49 million from a little-known state surplus to help the MBTA close its deficit for the coming year and avoid steeper fare increases than those already scheduled for July 1.

The Senate plan mostly lines up with a measure approved by the House last week and sets the stage for the proposal to reach the desk of Governor Deval Patrick by a looming deadline at the end of next week. That would close all but about a $6 million gap in the T’s nearly $1.8 billion budget for the coming year, a hole transportation officials say they can fill without needing additional state money or imposing more pain on riders.

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