House lawmakers passed a $500 million transportation bill Monday night, but failed to get the margin needed to protect it from Governor Deval Patrick’s threatened veto, intensifying a confrontation over how best to to address the state’s pressing transportation needs.
Patrick, who favors a more ambitious $1.9 billion plan for transportation and education, spent the weekend lobbying legislators to vote against the more modest House bill. The efforts were successful enough to split House Democrats’ votes on the measure, a rare moment in a legislative body in which the Democratic majority is usually united.
Without unity, the 105 votes needed for a veto-proof margin proved elusive. The final vote was 97 to 55.
Voting against the House bill were Democrats who want to hold out for a more expansive transportation bill, joined by Republicans critical of new taxes on gas, tobacco, and business-related computer services laid out by the bill.
“The bill before us today did not go far enough,” said Representative Carl Sciortino, the Medford Democrat who led much of the left-leaning opposition to the bill. As the legislation moves to the Senate, he said, “I’m hopeful our leaders can take a deep breath and have communication.”
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