Regional Transit Resources for Massachusetts Advocates
This resource page provides news about a new report, transformative RTA legislation, and RTA funding in the FY 2022 state budget.
Massachusetts needs strong, statewide public transportation. As we come out of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is essential that we encourage safe, reliable and high-quality public transportation.
The 15 Regional Transit Authorities across Massachusetts are part of the solution. Our RTAs are a lifeline for many in Massachusetts who do not own cars; for employers whose workforce needs transit; for students and educational institutions; and for health and wellness.
This new report from MASSPIRG, T4MA, the Massachusetts Public Health Association and the Conservation Law Foundation builds on the visionary 2019 report produced by the MassDOT Task Force on Regional Transit Authority Performance and Funding, this new report offers recommendations on funding, governance, service and sustainability in an effort to advance regional transit in Massachusetts.
Key recommendations include:
- Setting a baseline benchmark of $94 million in FY22 for State Contract Assistance
- Ending the use of the "farebox recovery ratio" as a performance metric
- Developing and improving the reinvigorated RTA Council
- Piloting and implementing more cross-RTA services
- Complete an electric bus feasibility study
Improvements are underway, but continued progress requires real accountability given the RTAs role in connecting Bay Staters with jobs, food and health resources.
Legislation to advance regional transit
An Act to increase regional transit accessibility in the Commonwealth, filed by Senator Chandler and Representative Blais
- Ensure adequate and sustainable funding for RTAs
- Prioritize RTA service improvements through an annual RTA Council report
- Enhance support for RTA capital projects
- Support electrification of RTA buses
- Links to bill HD3312/SD2232
How you can help:
- Contact your Senator and Representative and ask them to co-sponsor HD3312/SD2232 by Sen. Chandler and Representative Blais
- To view a sample email template & phone script, visit tinyurl.com/RTAAdvocacyTools
- For more information, please visit tinyurl.com/RTAFactSheet
RTAs in the FY22 budget
- Next steps: The FY22 Budget will be coming up for debate in the House beginning in April, before being taken up by the Senate in May. In both chambers, the Ways and Means Committee proposes a budget, then members propose amendments which are approved, rejected or withdrawn as part of the approval process. Then the House and Senate budgets are reconciled through a Conference Committee, and the budget is then approved by both chambers. The Governor then has 10 days to review and take action to either approve or veto sections of the budget, which vetoes the Legislature may then override with a ⅔ vote.
- How to help: The budget proposed by Governor Baker includes $90.5 million in funding for RTAs with $87 million in operating funds and $3.5 million to be distributed by formula grants. Please contact your legislators to support or co-sponsor An Act to Increase Regional Transit Accessibility in the Commonwealth, or ask them to support $94 million in state contract assistance for RTAs in FY22.
Thank you for adding your voice for better public transit!
About the RTA Advocates Coalition
- Across Massachusetts, supporters for better regional transportation work together as the RTA Advocates Coalition. Organizers with T4MA and the Massachusetts Public Health Association bring together community leaders to educate and motivate transit supporters and provide a strong, united voice for riders all across the Commonwealth. We include community groups, human services providers, transportation advocates and local leaders.
- If your organization wants to join us, please email Alexis Walls at MPHA or Enrique Pepen at T4MA.