MBTA General Manager Richard Davey likes to say “We’re only as good as our last rush hour,’’ and by that standard the T is not doing very well right now. The long delays throughout system on a recent frigid day have enraged commuters and discouraged new riders from getting onboard, as Boston Globe reporter Eric Moskowitz wrote in an article published in yesterday’s paper.
The T, to its credit, did not pretend it was surprised it gets cold in Boston in January. When it discusses the T’s “aging fleet” the Globe hints at the real reason for these delays: a long list of necessary repairs to its system that the T estimates will cost at least $2.7 billion to address. Despite the ingenuity of MBTA’s employees to keep the system running, the only way we can ensure that the T runs smoothly in the future is to raise sufficient revenue to pay for much delayed improvements. While few in government right now want to talk about raising revenue, investment in public transportation infrastructure, not just for the MBTA, but throughout the state, is critical for encouraging economic development, slashing the greenhouse gas pollution changing our climate, improving air quality, and providing affordable and efficient transportation for everyone.