An online map tool released Wednesday reveals the impact that Mass. Gov. Deval Patrick’s 2014 budget proposal will have on transportation and education funding in each district if the legislature passes it in 2013.
“We hope people will see that, through this budget proposal, the city or town will be funded — transportation and education,” said Bonnie McGilpin, deputy press secretary for Patrick. “These maps are an easy way to see how the things on the news that [people] hear about will help them.”
The 400 maps, representing all state senatorial and congressional districts, were created to show what investing in growth and opportunity will mean for every community, according to Patirck’s press release Wednesday.
“This tool will help people see exactly what to expect in their own backyard as part of the investments we’ve proposed,” Patrick said in the release. “Meaningful investments in education and transportation today will significantly improve our economic future, both in the short term and for generations to come.”
McGilpin said the online map tool project started after Patrick unveiled his budget Jan. 23, and the Massachusetts Department of Education, Finance and Transportation worked with the Information Technology Division to create the tool.
Each map was delivered to the district legislators so they could see the future of their district’s funding. The maps show Patrick’s goal to build a stronger Commonwealth through investment in education and transportation.
“As we continue to discuss the importance of making strategic investments to grow our Commonwealth, this new online tool serves as another resource for residents to understand how investments in education and transportation will directly impact them and their cities and towns,” said Mass. Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray in the release.
The budget includes a $550 million investment in education, which aims to reach $1 billion over four years. This investment would provide universal access to early education for children, fully fund grade school education and make college more affordable and accessible.
Funding for Chapter 70 education and public colleges and universities in the 18th Suffolk district, in which Boston University is located, will see an increase of about $4,439,000 in funding from the current fiscal year, according to the House of Representatives District Eighteenth Suffolk Education map.
The Commonwealth’s transportation system will receive a $1 billion annual investment from Patrick’s budget plan to maintain the current transportation system and begin high-impact transportation projects across Massachusetts, according to the release.
“Actually, the tools do not fully explain the importance of the transportation proposals,” said Mass. Sen. William Brownsberger. “For example, the important investment in the Green Line, which would have huge benefits for all the communities served by the Green Line, does not show up in the maps.”
Tools such as these maps have not been made before — at least not in this magnitude —,Gilpin said.
Patrick has been traveling the Commonwealth since the release of his plan, hoping to influence people of the importance of investing in education, innovation and infrastructure to encourage job creation and create opportunity, according to the release.
“We’ve gotten great feedback already,” Gilpin said. “[The maps] are easy to access and use and I think that will continue.”
Brownsberger said the tool allows for more government transparency with the public.
“I’m glad the governor is helping people to assess the local impacts of his transportation and education proposals,” he said. “The impacts, the availability of funding for local projects and education for schools, are significant.”