Improving Public Transportation

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When Comparing Transportation Finance Plans, Know Your Fruit
by Rafael Mares

At a time when our legislators are facing critical decisions on transportation financing, their ability to properly assess the plans on the table is being hampered by confusion about the different plans’ price tags and where the money is going to come from. Factions are forming around inaccurate characterizations of the different transportation plans, so…

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MA Transportation Funding Framework: More (or really less) to the supposedly budget-minded proposal than meets the eye
by Rafael Mares

On Tuesday, the Massachusetts House and Senate Committees on Ways and Means jointly announced a transportation finance framework. Upon close review, there is more (or really less) to the supposedly budget-minded proposal than meets the eye. In short, the legislature’s answer to MassDOT’s ten-year transportation plan would neither be big enough (it does not even…

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Not Much Fat in the Governor’s “Ambitious” Transportation Funding Plan
by Rafael Mares

My son’s third grade class is looking for “juicy” adjectives, and I found one.  Again and again, journalists are describing the Massachusetts Governor’s 21st Century Transportation Plan, which proposes to raise revenue for our chronically underfunded transportation system, as “ambitious.” Not the kind of “ambitious” your mother admired in you when you were a college student, but the…

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Read My Lips: We Need More Money for Transportation
by Rafael Mares

When Governor Deval Patrick stood before the Legislature and the people of Massachusetts last week to offer a bold proposal to raise $1 billion per year to fund critical investments in transportation, he struck a skillful balance between the pragmatic and the visionary, appealing to us as both taxpayers and investors in a thriving Commonwealth.…

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Feeling crowded on the MBTA? It’s not just you.
by Emily Long

“Watch the doors. Doors are closing. There is more service immediately behind this train. Please wait for the next train. Doors are closing.”

I find I am hearing this message more and more on the MBTA. So when the transit agency announced yesterday that average weekday ridership topped 400 million trips in FY2012, setting a new record, I was not the least bit surprised.

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Response to OpEd: The Real Fast Track to Trouble
by Rafael Mares

Rafael Mares, staff attorney at Conservation Law Foundation, authored the following letter to the editor of the Boston Herald in response to Charles Chieppo’s op-ed on July 3, entitled “Fast Track to Trouble“. In his op-ed, Charles Chieppo accurately states that the “T is a cornerstone of the regional economy and a lifeline for countless people.” (Fast…

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Logan Airport Silver Line Service: A Test For More to Come?
by Rafael Mares

The Boston Globe yesterday reported on the fact that Silver Line buses between the Airport and South Station will be free starting tomorrow for a period of at least ninety days. You are probably wondering how the MBTA can afford giving away rides. Isn’t the T still staring a $161 million operating budget deficit for FY13…

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MBTA Balanced Budget for FY13: Are we there yet?
by Rafael Mares

They say that passing legislation is like making sausages. That may be true, but sometimes it is more like waiting for the bus. Almost two months ago, the board of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) approved a balanced operating budget for the coming fiscal year, which includes revenue sources that still need legislative approval. Today, the Boston Globe reported about the continuing lack of a resolution. How much progress has been made?