MBTA is staring down a financial paradox

March 09, 2015

In the Boston Globe Metro section, David Scharfenberg writes...

When Governor Charlie Baker made his regular appearance on WGBH-FM radio a few weeks ago, the conversation inevitably turned to the topic du jour: what to do about the crisis engulfing the MBTA, ravaged by days of historic storms and years of crippling budget woes?

“The thing I find so disappointing about this is everybody just says we should raise taxes,” he said, adding later, “They don’t talk about the fact that the operating budget for the T over the last seven or eight years has gone up by 50 percent.”

Baker’s math was close enough; the T’s budget has grown 44 percent in the last eight years. And the implication was clear: The agency has a spending problem.

But a Boston Globe review suggests a more complicated picture. By many measures, the MBTA’s outlays are in line with those of other large public transit systems around the country. Its spending has grown at a typical pace over the last decade. Its pension costs don’t eat up a particularly large portion of its budget. And the agency’s average hourly wage is, well, average.

Read the full article here.


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