Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Fare hikes, service cuts incoming

As expected, the MBTA board approved the revised plan today, despite the protests of assembled riders at the public meeting.
Director Ferdinand Alvaro, who was the only member to oppose the plan, said, “I cannot in good conscience support a budget that covers the gap and burdens the most vulnerable people in our population with covering the gap. It is time for the Legislature to come to the table.” 
Director Andrew Whittle said, “This is a hell of a way to run a railroad. ... I don’t think any of us are happy in this process.” 
But he noted that the Legislature had promised to address new revenues for transportation next year. “We’ve been told that if we act, the Legislature will act, and I think it’s important to hold them to it,” he told the packed room.
I frankly find this a bit puzzling. What motivation does the Legislature have to act in the near future, if the immediate threat of a budget apocalypse has been averted for another year? And it's not about finding "new revenues", it's about fixing the existing mechanisms, and shifting the Big Dig debt burden back where it belongs. I'd be curious to know who exactly gave that promise, and how credible it is. My feeling is that we're going to see the fare hike go into effect July 1st, and the Legislature will continue to pretend the problem doesn't exist, until we repeat the whole fiasco next year.

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