MBTA Commission Report
It is encouraging to see the region's mobility needs being seriously discussed after decades of neglect. Public transportation is the lifeblood of our economy as it enables us and those we depend on to move around the region.
We are disappointed that early discussion of the MBTA commission report seems to skip over the root causes of the problem. While the report makes some good points about restructuring, capital planning, and potential revenue sources, it uses misleading data, makes conflicting suggestions, and repeats the popular myth that focusing on management reforms can fix the T. Deficiencies from poor network planning to capacity constraints and low on-time performance cannot be corrected without a major investment to ending chronic understaffing and deferred maintenance.
Boston's population has increased 10 percent since 2000 and subway ridership has jumped by as much as 30 percent, yet without significant investment the system is becoming increasing unreliable. Key parts of the Green Line are so overcrowded as to be completely unusable, and major bus routes are leaving people behind for lack of funds (and buses). It is critical that we identify stable long-term revenue to increase capacity, improve service quality and make strategic expansions.
Despite overwhelming public support for major upgrades, the governor's commission sadly recommends more austerity and fare increases, which would only punish existing riders, deter new riders and put even more cars on our crowded streets. Following this path would be an epic missed opportunity.