Under the Hood of the Massachusetts Transportation System: Introduction

Rafael Mares | @RafaelMares2

We all expect our transportation system to work. But what happens when it doesn’t and we don’t fully understand the alternatives? Image: shoothead @ flickr

This post is the first in a series on transportation issues affecting Massachusetts. Look for more from Rafael Mares and Christine Chilingerian in the coming weeks. To stay up to date, visit this www.clf.org/blog/tag/MA4Trans/ or follow the hashtag #MA4TRANS on Twitter.

We all expect our transportation system to work. We get upset when we wait for the bus, drive through a pothole, sit in traffic, or are stuck on the T behind a broken down train. We expect our transportation system to be in place—for roads to be paved, for sidewalks to be built, for bike lanes to be marked, for train track and trains to be available, and for tunnels to be dug and lit. What’s more—we not only expect them to be there, but to also be in good service when we need them: for roads to be smooth and not congested, for buses and trains to be timely, for sidewalks to not be treacherous, and for tunnels to, well, not leak.

As Paul Levy, a distinguished Massachusetts public servant, however, has pointed out, the nature of our democratic system, and the slow deterioration that all infrastructure goes through do not mesh well. Almost two years ago, Mr. Levy wisely called for a cheering section for infrastructure. With legislators on Beacon Hill now finally actively trying to tackle the long-standing, severe underfunding of our transportation system, we believe it’s time to put on the cheerleading uniform, pull out the pom poms, and cheer loudly.

But how can we cheer, if we‘re not armed with important facts about the root of our transportation system’s problems? This blog series attempts to shed light on facts about the Commonwealth’s transportation system that can help us be informed supporters of new revenue for our transportation system, even if it takes a billion dollars a year over the next ten years to solve the problem.

I hope you’ll follow as we post this. They’ll make great reading while you’re waiting for the T.

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