Transportation for Massachusetts advocates for solutions to sufficiently fund the MBTA and regional transit authorities to allow people who rely on buses and rail get to where they need to go.
Last fiscal year, the MBTA was facing a $160 million structural deficit and proposed to dramatically raise fares and cut service. To partially close this deficit, the MBTA raised fares and instituted limited service cuts. Because fare hikes place a greater burden on low-income people, Transportation for Massachusetts worked with other stakeholders to lessen the severity of both the fare increases and services cuts. We, together with the business community and other advocates, drove the Legislature to produce a temporary funding package that allowed the MBTA to reduce the amount of the fare increase and the extent of the service cuts they had proposed.
Today, as we enter into the next fiscal year, the MBTA anticipates a $110 million structural deficit for the next fiscal year and the authority will be looking again to increase fares and cut service to close this deficit.
The commonwealth’s 15 regional transit authorities that serve those who are dependent on public transit are also undergoing financial uncertainty while facing a combined deficit of $125 million. Many of regional transit systems end service in the early evening and do not provide weekend service because they cannot afford to run fuller service. In some parts of the state, and especially in economically depressed areas, these regional transit authorities are the only means for people to get to jobs, health care, and even everyday places like friends’ houses and grocery stores.
In the months ahead, Transportation for Massachusetts will work to push for funding solutions for our public transit systems to prevent any further financial burdens being placed on lower-income people, students, and the elderly on fixed incomes who are dependent on public transit for their mobility.
The MBTA serves 175 cities and town in Massachusetts and the regional transit authorities serve our important gateway cities. These public transit systems are essential to our economy and economic opportunity. They also offer transportation options that can improve our health through more activity and the reduction of global warming pollution.