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.
The Governor’s proposed budget provides modest increases for transportation funding over last year’s appropriations, but proposes $15 million less for the MBTA than the 2013 Finance Act anticipated for FY16 and $30 million less in snow removal funding than the average annual amount expended over the past 5 years. A substantial commitment of state resources is necessary to protect our transportation system and the jobs that depend on reliable and safe mobility.continue
Thanks to everyone who has signed our petition for safe and reliable transportation. The commonwealth depends on affordable and dependable mobility.
Please join us at the State House on Wednesday, March 4 at 10AM (arrive at 9:45) for a rally and to deliver our petition to the Governor and legislators. Mayor Joe Curtatone and other speakers will address the need for transportation solutions across the state.continue
TRANSPORTATION FOR MASSACHUSETTS MEETS WITH 40 MEMBERS OF HOUSE AND SENATE TO DISCUSS FINDINGS OF LATEST “KEEPING ON TRACK” REPORT AND THE FINANCIAL STATUS OF MBTA
LEADING TRANSPORTATION ADVOCACY GROUP GIVES UPDATES DURING MBTA CAUCUS MEETINGcontinue
Transportation for Massachusetts, a statewide coalition supporting affordable and reliable transportation for a more prosperous Commonwealth, welcomes the Governor’s creation of the MBTA Special Panel as a positive step towards improving public transportation service provided by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority.continue
Transportation for Massachusetts, the Conservation Law Foundation and MASSPIRG today released their second progress report on funding and reforms created by the Transportation Finance Act of 2013. The report, Keeping on Track: Our Second Progress Report on Reforming and Funding Transportation Since Passage of the Massachusetts Transportation Finance Act of 2013, finds that significant transportation improvements have been made across the state in in the first completed fiscal year. However, the amount of revenue raised in the 2013 funding bill is still not sufficient to meet the Commonwealth’s ongoing and future transportation needs or to support the state’s economy.
In CommonWealth, Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone writes...
THE SYSTEM-WIDE MBTA failures during the recent snowstorms should serve as a call to arms for everyone in Massachusetts. Quite literally, our prosperity is on the line. I’m not talking about just the prosperity of metro Boston or the eastern portion of the state. I’m talking about the entire Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The reliable operation of the MBTA is a bread and butter issue for the Bay State. This catastrophic failure of the transportation system in our leading commerce center threatens to undermine our economy.
On MASSter List, George Donnelly writes...
Gov. Charlie Baker recited a fundamental natural law at a press conference earlier this week. “If I’ve learned one thing over the course of the past two weeks it’s that Mother Nature makes the rules,” he said.
But there are other natural laws that are less obvious but more germane to the recent freeze of public transit service: Material objects disintegrate and fall apart over time. The technical term is entropy, the tendency of things to break down and decay.
In just a few days, 2000 people signed our petition asking the state to fund safe and reliable transportation. Facebook, Twitter, email, news stories and more are making the case that the MBTA was on the ropes long before the snow started falling.
The weather brought this failing system to a halt, and made people pay attention. Unprecedented system closures have made the point that we have a broken transportation system regardless of the weather.continue