Lawmakers to meet on tax bill for transportation

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BOSTON (AP) — Beacon Hill lawmakers are getting back to work on a plan to raise $500 million in new taxes to help fix and modernize the state's transportation system.

House and Senate negotiators are scheduled to meet on Thursday to work out differences between versions of the bill that were passed by both chambers earlier in the month.

Gov. Deval Patrick called the original version of the bill proposed by legislative leaders a "fiscal shell game," without enough revenue to address the state's long-term transportation needs. Patrick said a later Senate version was a step forward, but stopped short of saying whether he'd sign it into law.

Patrick had asked for nearly $2 billion in new taxes for transportation and education.

The Legislature's plan calls for hikes in gasoline and cigarette taxes.