Blog: The time to change our future is right now

By: Kristina Egan

Welcome to Transportation for Massachusetts’ new website! We hope you return often to keep up with our campaign and read our blog.

We are a broad coalition of 30 organizations, representing tens of thousands of residents, and are committed to building a 21st century transportation system for Massachusetts.  Our members are focused on different causes – from social justice to economic development to the environment-  but we all see transportation as vital to Massachusetts and our shared future.

Transportation gets us where we need and want to go, but it’s more than that. For some, the first step on the path to the American Dream can be the bus stop down the street.  More sidewalks and bikeways help us improve our health.  And more trains and buses mean less climate pollution.

Right now, our state is in crisis. Our transportation network is sliding further into debt and disrepair.  Every day, all of us travel to work, school, and other places over bridges that are crumbling, roads riddled with potholes, and on trains and buses that are too old.

The MBTA faces a $130 million deficit in the upcoming year and our 15 other regional transit authorities face a cumulative backlog of repairs in the area of $150 million.  Our roads and bridges need more than $6 billion in repair while we only have a third of that available for fixes.  Because of the lack of adequate revenue, the state is caught in a damaging cycle of paying for daily operations with debt – we are literally paying to cut the grass on the median with borrowed money.

If this continues our transportation system will begin to fail and people will be cut off from jobs while youth, seniors, and those with disabilities will become more isolated.  Our roads and public transit systems will become more congested, which will weigh down our economy and degrade our quality of life, healthy, and environment.

While this all sounds terrible, the good news is we can fix it.

In the upcoming legislative session, our leaders have made transportation a top priority.  Our current campaign is to work with policymakers to ensure we have a generational fix.  We need new, sufficient, and stable revenue that will not increase the burden on lower-income people. We need invest these resources fairly and wisely so people of all means in all parts of the state will have safe, affordable, and accessible transportation choices.

The time to change our future is now.  We hope you will join us in our work to create a transportation system that Massachusetts residents need.