When a new bill from Gov. Charlie Baker threatened to make public transportation more expensive and less reliable, CLF supporters and other transit activists took action. Massachusetts residents who are committed to an affordable and sustainable public transportation system contacted their legislators and asked them to oppose the most harmful provisions in Baker’s bill.
Gov. Baker’s legislation, which the legislature began considering in May, would have done the following: cut $581 million over six years from the state’s transportation system, including not only the MBTA, but also roads, bridges, bikeways and sidewalks; allowed unpredictable and extreme fare hikes; opened the door to charging riders more for transfers; and lead to service cuts. This legislation was a significant economic and environmental threat. It also failed to implement some of the key reform measures recommended by the governor’s own review panel. (For a more detailed analysis of Baker’s legislation, see the May 2015 CLF blog post, “How NOT to Fix the MBTA: Governor Baker’s Reform Bill.”)
But thanks to CLF supporters and other transit advocates, including groups like Transportation for Massachusetts, some of the worst provisions of this bill are no longer on the table. The Massachusetts legislature has moved on from Baker’s original bill and proposed an alternative piece of legislation that would still focus on improving transportation, but without unpredictable fare hikes and increased transfer charges. It even added a few great improvements for Regional Transit Authorities. To learn more about where things now stand in the legislature and some of the challenges still ahead, read this recent Boston Globe article.
Thank you to all of our supporters in Massachusetts who have spoken up for public transportation. The legislative process is not yet over and we’ll continue to call on you when your voice is needed most!