The Governor unveiled legislation on April 22 aimed at stabilizing the MBTA after this winter’s historic snowfall exposed the fragility of the Boston region’s public transit system. We are grateful to the Administration for their prompt attention to the issues that were revealed after this winter, and to their commitment to rapidly addressing transportation challenges that have percolated for decades.Read more
Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack, on the heels of highly critical report of MBTA operations, knows the Commonwealth has a lot of fix-it work ahead. But she still wants to think big. And she surprised a group of real estate executives yesterday by saying the Commonwealth has the capacity to spend big on transportation — more than was spent on the Big Dig spent on an annual basis.
Read the full article here.
In Banker & Tradesman, Rick Dimino of A Better City writes...
The MBTA is a cornerstone of our economy. We now know what happens when the MBTA is unable to carry the almost 1.3 million riders who use and rely on the system every day – the employees who power the Massachusetts economy can- not get to their jobs. These jobs provide income and discretionary spending power, which puts money in the pockets of our businesses, retailers and restaurants, which in turn generate sales and meals taxes. These jobs also deliver income taxes into the Treasury and, combined, this revenue helps fund services to taxpayers across the commonwealth.
Writing in Commonwealth, Transportation for Massachusetts Director Kristina Egan and Tony Dutzik of the Frontier Group explain why a comprehensive approach to revitalizing the MBTA is crucial to the Massachusetts economy, and to the people and businesses that depend on public transportation. Read the article here.
In WBUR's Cognoscenti, Douglas M. McGarrah writes...
Haven’t we studied, reorganized, refined the reorganization and special commissioned our transportation system enough over the past years? Have we not the grounds to just declare our total dissatisfaction with the current unacceptable levels of service disruptions? The time to act is now.
From the Boston Globe, David D'Alessandro writes...
A GREAT many people have weighed in on the MBTA’s breathtakingly woeful performance. Solutions abound, including privatizing the agency, hiking fares, shifting debt to other departments, selling assets, and reconfiguring pensions. But who ultimately will be responsible for fixing the T? It will fall to the “Big Three” — the governor, the speaker of the House, and the Senate president. The implementers of any solution will likely be appointed experts, but the burden of coming up with a plan is on the Big Three.
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.
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.
By Bonnie Biocchi and Joshua Ostroff
Guest Columnists in the MetroWest Daily News
(The following column was published on October 12, 2014: see original)
On Nov. 4, voters will choose a path that affects our roads, bridges, transit systems and economy. We urge you to vote No on ballot question 1.Read more