ATTLEBORO - Democratic challenger Paul Heroux is accusing state Rep. George Ross of trying to hold funding for the MBTA hostage to force action on a transportation bill.

Heroux, who is running in the Democratic primary against Steve Kane for the right to challenge Ross, said the manuever by Ross and other Republicans could have jeopardized the MBTA funding.

The House and Senate have voted to transfer $51 million to the MBTA to help with a budget deficit and to prevent 23 percent fare hikes from jumping to 43 percent.

Ross, R-Attleboro, said he voted for the $51 million because if it did not pass, his constituents who take the train to work would suffer.

"It had to be fixed," he said.

But, Heroux, who also supports the $51 million, said the funding was put at risk by an amendment supported by Ross.

The amendment, which failed, would have withheld the MBTA aid until another bill to provide $200 million for roads and bridges was passed.

"He was holding the money hostage. He was against it before he was for it," Heroux said of the incumbent.

Ross said he was not concerned with the transportation amendment.

"That's ancient history," he said.

The freshman lawmaker said it is easy to "throw stones," but when you are in office you have responsibilities.

Kane, the other Democrat in the race, could not be reached for comment Thursday.

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