Let's Fix Our Transportation Crisis

Massachusetts is in a transportation crisis. Residents are burdened with both short-term and long-term transportation problems. Today’s transportation system is inequitable. Our congested roads and rising emissions, underfunded public transportation, and a lack of cohesive and connected walking and biking options have contributed to worsening air quality and deepening social inequities.

T4MA’s package of strategic initiatives encourage policymakers to act with a sense of urgency on the problems you face everyday. On this page, learn how better policies can help to get us out of this crisis, and how you can push your legislators to do so.

Massachusetts Roads, Bridges and Transit Statewide Are in Poor Condition.

While the cost of living and inflation increases, the gas tax has increased minimally in comparison. The gas tax is a funding source that would help to fix your transportation problems.

a graphic featuring a road block and two traffic cones


Policy: Increase the State Gas Tax by 25¢ / Gallon

The new revenue sourced from gas tax would be used to:

  • Improve road and bridge maintenance statewide
  • Increase service and capacity on MBTA and RTA services
  • Increase Chapter 90 funding to repair and maintain local roads
    Complementary policies:
  • Raise the state's Earned Income Tax Credit to protect low-income workers from fuel price increases
  • Increase and dedicate funding for Regional Transit Authorities
  • Roll-back the MBTA's 2019 fare increase, pilot "fair free" RTAs, and fund low-income transit statewide
Click any of the following resources to find out more

Transportation Is a Major Source of Climate and Air Pollution.

Transportation is the largest source of green house gas (GHG) emissions in Massachusetts, accounting for more than 40% of GHGs. Tailpipe exhaust includes to pollutants that cause asthma and respiratory disease that disproportionately impact low-income communities and communities of color.

a graphic featuring the back of a red car on the edge of a hill


Policy: Advance and Adopt a Robust and Equitable Transportation & Climate Initiative (TCI)

The new revenue sourced from a market-based program capping emissions from transportation would fund cleaner transportation options, including:

  • Climate/weather resiliency projects
  • Enhanced transit, walking and biking options statewide
  • Creating a "Mass Save for Vehicles" program to provide rebates and incentives for cleaner vehicles
    Complementary policies:
  • Dedicate TCI funds to investments that prioritize communities underserved by transit and overburdened by air pollution
  • Include rebates or credits for low-income households
  • Commit TCI funds to MBTA and RTAs
Click any of the following resources to find out more

Cities and Towns Do Not Have Enough Tools to Fund Local Projects.


Many cities across the country use ballot initiatives as a core way to raise funds to invest in transportation. Currently Massachusetts law does not allow for this. The state does have a law to allow for in real-estate value to be tied to transportation investments, but this law should be expanded so that developers and property owners can contribute to improvements.

a graphic featuring a toolbox with two wrenches and a hammer


Policy: Pass Regional Ballot Initiatives (RBIs) and Value Capture

Cities, towns and regions would have more control over the investment in transportation projects that may not otherwise be possible

  • Give voters more say in transportation projects
  • Fund local and regional projects statewide
    Complementary Policy:
  • Fund a progressive state match that builds in racial and socioeconomic equity as criteria for the level of state funding provided to communities that pass RBIs
Click the following resource to find out more

Massachusetts Has the Nation's Worst Traffic Congestion.

Ranked #1 in congestion, Greater Boston residents spent 164 hours, and wasted $2,100 sitting in traffic last year. What would you do with that time and money back? Of the country's ten most populous metropolitan areas, Greater Boston is the only one that does not use time-of-day pricing to manage congestion on its tolled roads. Congestion impacts every region in the state, frustrates commuters, and drives up the cost of doing business.

a graphic featuring blue, red, and yellow cars driving in one direction as a mass of traffic


Policy:
Congestion Pricing on Highways Within Route 128

Congestion pricing, otherwise known as "Smarter Tolling" would:

  • Significantly reduce congestion with a proven method
  • Fund regional rail
  • Fund enhanced regional and local bus service
    Complementary Policies:
  • Provide low-income drivers discounts for full exemptions from tolling costs
  • Offer multi-modal transportation credits that can be used for tolls, transit fares, cycling, etc.
  • Support a low-income fare program on the commuter rail to further enable alternatives to driving during peak hours
Click any of the following resources to find out more

80+ Million Annual Uber/Lyft Trips Are Clogging Up Roads.

Our transportation policies are not keeping up with changes in transportation technology. Updating policies towards Uber and Lyft regulations will help reduce traffic congestion, while increasing funding for transportation investments.

a graphic featuring a hand holding a smartphone showing a rideshare app with a red car waiting in the background


Policy: Enact 6.25% Fee on Uber/Lyft Trips, with a Discount for Shared Rides


  • More shared trips
  • Less traffic congestion
  • Fund local and state transportation projects
    Complementary Policy:
  • Use the proceeds of an updated fee on Uber/Lyft trips to fill critical gaps in public transportation that leave low-income workers and others with few options except for Uber/Lyft trips
Click any of the following resources to find out more

T4MA's Full Reports

 

Click on image to view one-pager

Click here to read the full "Policies and Progress" Document
Click on image to view one-pager

Click here to read the full "Progressive Policy Package" Document

 

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