As expected, Massachusetts lawmakers have overriden Governor Patrick’s veto of a massive transportation funding bill. That means higher taxes on gas and cigarettes starting next week. Moving forward, the gas tax will be tied to inflation. Driving on the western end of the Mass Pike will remain free for the time being. The transportation bill does not bring back the tolls to the western end of the pike, at least not yet. A decision on the tolls at exits 1 through 6 will be made after a study is completed sometime next year. The override votes in the House and the Senate Thursday put an end to a lengthy standoff on Beacon Hill.
A look at some of this week's biggest headlines and the newsmakers you may have missed.
A traffic configuration change is coming to a busy Northampton intersection by 2018, according to state officials. A series of proposed upgrades to Route 9 calls for construction of a roundabout intersection at the Northampton side to the Coolidge Bridge.
Lengthening of the school day is part of a plan proposed by state officials in their three-year "turnaround" plan for Holyoke's schools, elements of which will be phased in beginning as early as next school year.
At a town council subcommittee informational forum on the issue earlier this week, one councilor suggested that the town should consider an ordinance imposing minimum air quality standards on home wood burning devices.
At last night's Council meeting, the owner of Packard's directly addressed City Council President Bill Dwight and Ward 3 Councilor Ryan O'Donnell condemning their choice to march with hotel workers to deliver a message of an intent to unionize, to Hotel Northampton owner Mansour Ghalibaf.