We are deeply disappointed by the Baker Administration’s decision to increase fares by nearly 10%. Raising prices won’t rebuild the MBTA. It will push over six million riders off transit next year, moving our region backwards. Governor Baker’s Control Board has made the choice to significantly increase fares, despite poor service and despite having adequate savings and state funding to close its budget gap.
This large fare hike will financially burden people who use the MBTA, hitting those of modest incomes the hardest. It will also increase traffic congestion at a time of low gas prices and add carbon pollution when we must be doing more to protect our climate.
We are concerned that the Baker Administration has largely disregarded public input. The MBTA set up a process to gather comments and heard near universal opposition to the proposed hikes. This decision erodes the very public trust Governor Baker tasked the Control Board with rebuilding.
While we are glad the Control Board pulled back on some of the most draconian proposals, the adopted fare increase, overall, will hurt families and commuters. The burden of rebuilding a broken system must not fall entirely on people who ride the MBTA, or the MBTA risks a downward spiral. Good fare policy is to increase fares predictably and affordably by 5 percent every two years.
We all want better transportation choices throughout Massachusetts. Clearly, our roads, regional transit, bikeways and sidewalks, along with the MBTA, require reinvestment. Other states are leading the way in improving transportation. Massachusetts can and must do better than this.
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