As always, thank you Senator Eldridge!
Tea Bagger Guv Baker needs to be ONE AND DONE!
We don't often take public transportation so when we do, there is a noticeable decline.
Recently, a water main rupture caused massive confusion and the MBTA UNION personnel were absolutely WONDERFUL!
Passengers were confused about detours and re-routing, calmed by some great bus drivers!
There have been other problems, complaints filed with the MBTA require + 1 week to respond? Station recordings are WRONG! and much else!
Only a Republican could make it WORSE!
On;y a Republican could take PUBLIC out of PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION!
Charlie, your MBTA FAILED!
I've received a few inquiries from constituents about the Baker administration and the MBTA proposing cuts to commuter rail weekend service and The Ride for the disabled, here is the story, including my quotes not only opposing those cuts, but pointing out that the MBTA is playing a fiscal shell game, insisting they have a deficit to close, while the Legislature provided the MBTA with $173m in FY17, to avoid such service cuts. Cynical and disingenuous moves by our Governor, and the MBTA.
MBTA SERVICE CUTS QUICKLY RUN INTO RESISTANCE
By Andy Metzger
STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE
BOSTON, MARCH 13, 2017.....Proposed service cuts for disabled passengers and weekend commuter rail riders that are being contemplated by the MBTA drew a sharp rebuke Monday from the state Democratic Party, which said the move would "punish passengers."
Sen. Jamie Eldridge, an Acton Democrat who is co-chairman of the Senate MBTA Caucus, also objected to the idea, saying lawmakers have repeatedly given the MBTA additional funding through the budget so that it does not need to cut service.
"We provided the MBTA with that money in the budget," Eldridge told the News Service on Monday, saying the T is "not following the intent of the Legislature."
The MBTA's Fiscal and Management Control Board on Monday advanced a preliminary budget that includes options to bring it into balance even without the additional state funding.
Brian Lang, a member of the control board, said the cost-cutting measures included in the preliminary budget lacked sufficient detail to gain his support.
"At this point, I would not vote for this as a budget," Lang said.
Lang and his colleagues on the control board agreed to advance the preliminary budget to the MBTA Advisory Board without actually endorsing the proposed steps that could be taken to eliminate the T's structural deficit.
Lang told the News Service there was not enough detail about the options to cut weekend service on the commuter rail and scale back paratransit offered through The Ride.
"Every one of them warrants thorough vetting," Lang said.
MBTA officials projected a roughly $42 million structural deficit without additional measures to increase revenues and cut costs. Eliminating weekend commuter rail service would save an estimated $10 million. By limiting The Ride to the geographic area mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act near bus and subway service, the T would save an estimated $7 million.
Gov. Charlie Baker has pushed for the T to improve service on the existing system without adding a new revenue stream through higher taxes. The governor has supported annual payments of $187 million from the state to the T, which the Legislature has gone along with. As the transit agency has reduced its structural deficit, the extra funds have been used for capital projects.
Baker told reporters late Monday that he was not familiar with all of the cost-saving measures on the table, but believed management was just being transparent with the choices available. "I would view it at this point as an options memo," Baker said.
The Massachusetts Democratic Party seized on the move by the Baker administration, arguing it is part of a theme of the Republican governor mismanaging the contract with Keolis Commuter Services.
"The Baker administration has already awarded the commuter rail operator, Keolis, millions of dollars in special giveaways, without demanding any improvements in service or reliability," Massachusetts Democratic Party Chairman Gus Bickford said in a statement. "Now they're trying to punish riders for the Governor's mismanagement of the commuter rail contract. We should be investing in our public transportation infrastructure, not cutting service for the people who rely on it to get around."
Terry MacCormack, spokesman for the Massachusetts Republican Party, noted that two Patrick administration officials recently wrote that the state's low rankings for transportation "reflect decades of neglect and misprioritization of resources."
Jesse Mermell, who was communications director for Gov. Deval Patrick, a Democrat, and Chris Dempsey, who was assistant secretary of transportation, wrote about the state's transportation troubles in Commonwealth Magazine: "We didn't get here overnight. So we need to think long-term about the needs and goals of our transportation system if we're going to climb out of the hole and stay there."
Dempsey is now director of Transportation for Massachusetts.
"Transit advocates and even a former Patrick Administration official agree that years of Democratic control eroded the MBTA's infrastructure and created a bloated payroll while riders got worse service," McCormack said. "Thanks to Governor Baker's leadership, the T is on a stable fiscal path, new equipment to improve service for riders is replacing older vehicles, and for the first time in decades, major reforms are taking place, despite partisan Democrats' attempts to derail the progress."
Jay Gonzalez, Patrick's former budget chief who has declared his candidacy as a Democrat for governor, said the potential move "isn't fixing the T, it's driving it into a ditch with terrible consequences for the thousands of families who rely on these services."
"Rearranging the chairs on the deck of the Transportation Titanic will result in nothing more than more efficient seating on a sinking ship," Gonzalez said in a statement. "We need a Governor who will be honest about the investments we need to make to support the transportation system people rely on, and a Governor who has the courage to make those investments."