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Will Brownsberger
State Senator
2d Suffolk and Middlesex District

MBTA: Where are the governor and the legislature on this continuing disaster? (2 Responses)

The MBTA’s “solution” is unacceptable.  There is no reason to raise any fares or cut any services.  There are five sources for enough money to cover this year’s shortfall, over $220 million, at http://www.ace-ej.org/node/3260/print  (see below).

And that doesn’t count the $140 million savings we could have from shifting the debt off the T.

Please take the lead in removing the debt and setting up permanent funding for the life-line infrastructure of the region!  This yearly scramble, with constant whittling away of services, cannot go on.

HERE ARE FIVE WAYS TO PLUG THIS YEAR’S HOLE, FROM THE T RIDERS’ UNION http://www.ace-ej.org/fastfive

BUT NO MORE OF THIS IN THE FUTURE.  WE NEED A PERMANENT SOLUTION!

 

Massport assuming operations of ferry and SL1 services can save $50 million

Massport assumes operations of the Silver Line bus (SL1) to Logan Airport as well as all ferry services.

The sale of the ferries will not only ease strain on the T and its riders, but create an opportunity for Massport to expand ferry services to reach East Boston, Lynn, Salem and Winthrop.

Massport has both the expertise and financial means to take on the ferry service, and the transfer will be a mutually beneficial deal.

Savings: $50 million

Call: MassDOT Secretary & Massport Board Chair Richard Davey
(617) 222-2877

 

Holding MBCR accountable for assessed performance fines can save $49.6 million

Hold MBCR accountable for service! In the past two years, fines should have been assessed for delayed commuter rail trains, inadequately cleaned stations and missed performance measures.

Revise MBCR’s contract to benefit the T and its riders.

Eliminate contract ammendments that allow MBCR to double-bill the MBTA for labor costs like overtime and project management.

Savings: $49.6 million

Call: MBTA Board (617) 222-3188

Renegotiating bad interest rate swaps with banks can save $25 million

MBTA renegotiates bad interest rate swaps with banks including Deutsche Bank, UBS & JP Morgan Chase.

Savings: $25 million

Call: MBTA Board (617) 222-3188

 

Implementing a UPass program can save $60 million

Implement a UPass program at universities to provide MBTA access for local college students.

Savings: $60+ million

Call: Your university & legislators (617) 722-2000

 

Transferring remaining snow removal funds to the MBTA can save $20 million

Transfer MassDOT‘s snow removal funds to the MBTA, as a mild winter has left much of the money unused.

Of the $50 million allocated for snow and ice removal, the almost $40 million left over could be a short-term fix for the T.

Savings: $40 million

Call: MassDOT Board (617) 222-3188

 

TOTAL SAVINGS: $224.6 million

BONUS SAVINGS: Get Big Dig debt off our backs! T riders are paying $1.67 billion (not including interest) of Big Dig debt thrown on the MBTA by the state.

Savings: $140 million

Call: Your state legislators (617) 722-2000

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  1. […] Some have suggested that the state could somehow easily prevent all fare increases or service cuts. I don’t believe that to be true. If the state were to step in, the funds would come out of some other important program. The state is, in fact, approving $51 million additional funding for the T out of a reserve for motor vehicle inspections as part of the recommended settlement. Please see this post on my website for more on this dialog: http://willbrownsberger.com/index.php/archives/10184. […]

  2. Hi Shirley,

    The process is not complete yet, but I am honestly afraid that most these fare increases will stick. The fare increases are much less than originally proposed, especially for the RIDE.

    The highest priority that most have articulated has been to preserve services and the MBTA has done that. Only 0.3% of the trips on the MBTA buses and trains are proposed to be eliminated.

    The state has a tight budget year ahead of it. To limit the fare increases and to substantially avoid service cuts, the Department of Transportation is asking to transfer $51 million from outside the MBTA to the MBTA. That’s a big cash infusion. I expect the legislature to approve that.

    The other resources that some people are suggesting could prevent fare increases do not appear to be real. Legislators did raise these suggestions of resources in a meeting with the management of the MBTA last week and management debunked them. Massport has only a modest surplus and cannot provide $50 million per year to the MBTA. The snow removal account has under $10 million left in it — the normal pattern is to underfund the account and top it off as the winter goes on; even a light winter is sufficient to substantially deplete it. Renegotiation of swaps is not a feasible option either — the few swaps that the T has are functioning as intended. It also seems unrealistic to imagine that the commuter rail, which is a relatively small part of the budget, could yield large givebacks.

    So, I will continue listen carefully for realistic options, but we are in the endgame now and the fare proposal is unlikely to change much further this year.

    We all need to start turning our attention to next year when we undoubtedly will face another deficit and developing a long term plan. That will involve difficult conversations on both reform and revenue and I have been forthright in those conversations for some years. See for example this post from 2008 about the gas tax.

    /w.

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