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The Boston Globe

Metro

Starts & Stops

Deadline nears for MBTA financing plan

Beacon Hill leaders have promised to hold a robust debate on the state’s long-ignored transportation finance crisis in 2013. Legislation last June that authorized emergency short-term funding for the ­MBTA to avoid even sharper fare increases and cuts in service put the ball in the governor’s court, calling on him by Jan. 7 to “develop and publish a long-term surface transportation financing plan” for Massachusetts.

The administration has played it close to the vest but hinted that specific tax hikes to erase some of the red ink from the beleaguered transportation system will not come Jan. 7 but will instead be baked into Governor Deval Patrick’s state budget proposal. The Jan. 7 plan is more likely to detail the extent of the crisis and the state’s goals for transportation — and lay out different courses for getting there, such as how much various taxes, tolls, and fares would affect the bottom line.

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