Boston Globe Story on MBTA Debt

The Globe did a good story this week on the issue of MBTA debt.

The story makes the same point about the fare increases that I made in my earlier piece on the subject:

The scary part is that this would be just a one-year budget fix. Principal and interest payments on the debt are scheduled to climb higher in the next few years. And then there is the matter of the billions in repair and replacement needs that keep getting postponed.

I continue to discuss with my colleagues the issue of a longer term fix, possibly including a gas tax increase. I don’t hear an indication that the legislature is likely to step in to prevent fare increases, although I will continue to push for that. Absent action this year, I am hearing that most constituents hope that the MBTA will choose (a) to make necessary fare increases in a way that protects the most vulnerable; (b) avoid the crippling service cuts outlined in its Scenario II. I will be assembling a letter reflecting the concerns of my constituents to the MBTA before the close of its comment period.

In the longer term, we need to develop an approach to transportation funding that puts both the MBTA and other agencies on a sounder footing — that may await the next legislative session.

Published by Will Brownsberger

Will Brownsberger is State Senator from the Second Suffolk and Middlesex District.

4 replies on “Boston Globe Story on MBTA Debt”

  1. It would be useful if someone could make a stab at measuring just how scary scary is. What would a stable, sustainable T budget, one that covered what needed to be covered, look like? If the budget projection you link to on your website has a figure in it for maintenance I would appreciate having it pointed out to me. I can’t find it myself.

  2. Further contributing to the difficulties that the T faces are federal cuts in transit funding.

    The State House News Reported today that:

    A five-year transportation infrastructure bill approved last week by the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure authorizes $260 billion in spending for highway, transit and safety programs. “It may sound like a big number, but when you consider the details, it is actually less than we are currently spending,” Congressman Michael Capuano (D-Somerville) wrote in an e-update on Friday.

    Under the bill, Massachusetts would receive 12.3 percent less in transit funding than it did under a 2005 reauthorization law and its share of highway funding would increase “slightly,” resulting in a combined reduction of 3.5 percent in highway and transit funding compared to the 2005 law, according to Capuano.

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