Murphy, a Democrat who inserted the earmark at Keenan's behest, said the 1,000-space garage has been in the works for a decade and is needed. The garage would be shared by MBTA commuters in Salem who use the Rockport/Newburyport train line and users of a planned district courthouse in the area.
Housing cars does not count as housing. Is anyone else tired of the car culture that believes its cars above everything else?
Murphy, who is vice chairman of the Legislature's bonding committee, inserted the amendment during the committee's consideration of the bill, which could come to the House for a vote this week.
"It's a legitimate project," Murphy said. "It's not like we're hiring someone's uncle to do something. I'm not going to apologize for getting something done here."
But the single-project earmark probably flies in the face of the fund's original intent.
The "transit-oriented development" fund, put in place in 2004 when lawmakers set aside an initial $30 million, has been used in the past to encourage people to live near public transit and to make it easier to get around without cars. Governor Deval Patrick has spoken often about his desire to encourage more people to live near public transit stations to encourage economic development around the stations.