Improving Public Transportation

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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?

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Boston a Leader in Public Transit Access? Not Now, Walk Score
by Rafael Mares

  Bostonians hate being behind New York in any standings — a fact I was reminded of when Boston was ranked third, behind our East Coast nemesis and San Francisco, in the Walk Score ranking of public transit access. (This was covered by The Atlantic here.) However, this particular ranking is appalling to most residents…

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MBTA Approves Scenario 3: Now Legislature Must Do the Right Thing
by Rafael Mares

The MBTA voted today to approve “Scenario 3,” the proposal put forth last week to close the $159 million budget gap the T is facing this fiscal year. The plan is a lot better than the draconian fare increases and drastic service cuts that it initially proposed and we commend the MBTA for listening to the public and all stakeholders’ concerns to get to a 23% increase with minimal service cuts that is within the range of reasonableness, given the T’s desperate financial straits.

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Final Hearing Tonight on MBTA Cuts & Fare Hikes
by Ben Carmichael

In the last of a long and loud chorus of concern for the MBTA’s draconian service cuts and drastic fare increases, today is the last opportunity for members of the public to testify or comment formally on the MBTA’s proposals. If you have concerns, take a moment to share them. Some of us use the MBTA regularly, but all of us need it.