A $58 billion budget proposal that state senators will debate later this month focuses on education access and “regional equity” in public transit, top Democrats said Tuesday.

The Senate’s plan has a similar total price tag to the version already approved by the House but spends the money differently, proposing both universally free community college and major investments in child care affordability.

Those education initiatives would be backed up with money from the millionaires tax that voters approved in 2022. Budget-writers are expecting that tax to bring in $1.3 billion for the next fiscal year, which starts in July. The Senate bill would split that money so 57% goes to education and 43% goes to transportation.

In what could create a showdown between the Senate and the House, Senate leaders are taking a different approach to transportation spending.

While the House went big on the MBTA, the Senate is instead instead proposing a new vision for the state’s regional transit authorities, dedicating $40 million for year-round free fares at all RTAs and another $10 million for bus routes linking communities served by different agencies.

Along with the MBTA, Massachusetts is home to 15 different regional transit authorities that provide bus and paratransit service in distinct areas. Some, like those in the Worcester and Lawrence areas, already run fare-free service.

In all, the Senate budget proposes $214 million for RTAs, up from the $184 million backed by the House. The House budget calls for a record $555 million investment in the MBTA, with leaders in that chamber saying a safe and reliable public transit system is key to the state's economy.

The Senate's plan invests a total of $361.5 million in the T, and omits the House's $40 million for an “MBTA Academy” to recruit and train new workers.

Senate Ways and Means Committee Chair Michael Rodrigues, a Westport Democrat, said RTAs serve “primarily the lowest-income residents of the commonwealth.” He described the money to help interconnect RTAs across agency borders as a bid to make the system “seamless.”

“We looked at transportation holistically, for every RTA, and we made significant new investments in our RTAs for regional equity,” Rodrigues said.

“For instance, in my neck of the woods, Fall River, we're part of SRTA, Southeastern Regional Transit Authority. Taunton is part of [Greater Attleboro Taunton Regional Transit Authority], and then Brockton is part of Brockton regional,” Rodrigues said. “So you cannot get public transportation from Brockton to Fall River, and those three RTAs are already working on a plan, if they can get funded, just to run a bus up and down Route 24, and you can connect three RTAs and allow citizens to go anywhere.”

One area of common ground between the House and Senate is funding for the emergency shelter system that has stretched beyond its capacity to accommodate the continued influx of migrants, asylum-seekers and other new arrivals.

Both budget bills allocate $325 million in shelter money, and state officials next year will also be able to pull another $175 million from a savings account under previously passed legislation. That combined $500 million still falls well short of the roughly $900 million the Healey administration has estimated needing for shelters in fiscal 2025.

“We want to keep the pressure on the administration to make programmatic changes, to make it more efficient and affordable,” Rodrigues said. “And if you just throw all the money they want at it there's no incentive. We're saying, make it work. If they can't make it work, then come back to us and justify why you could not make this investment work.”

Senators have until Friday afternoon to file amendments to the budget proposal. Budget deliberations will kick off with opening speeches on Monday, May 20, with debate on amendments slated to start the next day.

After that, a team of six senators and representatives will reconcile the two spending bills to send a final version to Gov. Maura Healey. Negotiations traditionally drag past the July 1 start of the fiscal year.