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MBTA

Cash-strapped T proposes 23 percent fare increase

http://www.boston.com/yourtown/somerville/articles/2012/03/29/mbta_unveils_23_percent_fare_hike_limited_service_cuts_also_proposed/

While not totally happy (there is still a fare increase and minimal cuts to service), I breathed a sigh of relief to see the T's "final" plan to attack its spiralling deficit.  This will have only a minimal impact compared to the scenarios put out a few months ago that would have involved fare increases of up to 43% and cuts in service of up to 50% or more.
But this is only a one year fix.  The deficits will only increase if a long term solution is not found.  First, the amounts allocated to the T required under federal law to offset the environmental impacts of the Big Dig must be taken off their balance sheet.  This should have never been allocated to them as the Big Dig was to benefit drivers.
It it now time for the state legislature to address our transportation funding for all modes.  Transportation is an important issue that we can't continue to punt on.  We need to find a stable way to fund our vital transportation resources, whether it a raise in gas taxes, more tolling or some other innovative idea.  I know gas tax or toll increases are not popular, but are probably necessary. 
It is time for drivers to pay more of their share of transportation costs.  Gas, excise and other similar taxes only cover about half of the costs of highway construction and maintenance.  And consider this - a deficit in road funds will not mean roads will be closed or torn up.  Those of us who use public transportation don't have that guarantee.

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
dewline
Jun. 25th, 2012 02:50 pm (UTC)
Any further progress in the last three months?
(Anonymous)
Jul. 26th, 2012 08:38 pm (UTC)
Sorry for the delay in responding. I was away for a few weeks in California and it took me more time than I would have liked to get back in routine after returning.

The 23% increase did go into effect on July 1st along with a few cuts in service, but both the increase and the cuts were substantially below what the T was initially proposing. The state provided funds from unused snow plow fees (we had the 2nd lowest amount of snow in history last winter) and a few other sources to cover the T's deficit for this year, but now we have to get them to work on a more long lasting source of funding or we will be back in the same position next year. The governor and state legislature has tabled doing anything on this until after the elections in November, so we will see at that point what happens.
pubtran
Jul. 26th, 2012 08:41 pm (UTC)
sorry for the anonymmous - I wasn't logged in when I wrote it.
dewline
Jul. 26th, 2012 08:43 pm (UTC)
Understood! No worries.

Hoping for the best in further developments!
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )