A Taunton doctor is a driving force behind an effort to support research for spinal cord injuries in Massachusetts through a state trust fund that draws from surcharges paid by speeding motorists to reinstate their suspended licenses.
Taunton pediatrician Eric Ruby said he was pleased to hear that the state Senate passed a bill on Thursday that would help replenish the spinal injury research trust fund, which was established through a 2004 law, originally sponsored by former Taunton state Rep. James Fagan. The trust fund has been depleted in recent years after a change to an unrelated safe driving law in 2010, which unintentionally choked off revenues from the surcharge payments.
“This would allow us to move forward in funding grants for needed and essential research in Massachusetts, and in the Boston area, in particular,” said Ruby, who is a member of a three-person committee that awards research grants through the spinal injury trust fund.
The legislation to restore consistent funding to the trust fund was sponsored in the Senate by State Sen. Marc Pacheco, D-Taunton. Patricia Haddad, D-Somerset, co-sponsored the bill with a version in the House, which has not yet been voted on. Pacheco said the legislation could be passed and signed this year.