History of Fort Hill, Part 2 (2008). Mural by: Loray McDuffie, Taylor Saintable, Edwin Perez-Clancy, Christine O'Connell, Julia Andreasson, Jorge Benitez, Divah Payne, Lucy Saintcyr, Laua Dedonato, Gregg Bernstein.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Appallingly underfunded MBTA buses and trains

It is no secret that the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority consistently has been deferring maintenance and capital investment.  Any rider who walks from Fort Hill, down Gardner Street, to wait for a train at the Roxbury Crossing Orange Line stop can see this.

We will leave it to others to comment on the whys and wherefores of this neglect and disinvestment (Universal Hub post).  Suffice it to say that this neighborhood in particular, and Roxbury in general, have suffered over the years.

It is not an issue of suburbs versus the urban core.  It is not that commuter rail has received substantial investment over the years (e.g., the Greenbush Line or the new Wonderland parking facility in Revere), while the last significant investment in the urban core was the realignment of train service from Washington Street to the Southwest Corridor in the '80s (the South Station to airport link and Haymarket to Lechemere Green Line upgrade, notwithstanding).

The issue is that the Massachusetts General Court has kicked the can down the road.  Having saddled the mass transit budget with groaning debt from public roads investment, having worked a compromise by which a portion of the state sales tax is devoted to the MBTA, the legislature seems to have thought its work was done.

Now comes a $161MM annual operating deficit and talks of savage service reductions and equally savage fair increases.  (Read all about the MBTA's side of the story here.)

This must stop.  The legislature must act to reverse the trend of neglect and disinvestment.

The legislature must hear from its constituents that service reductions and rate increases are folly. 

Legislators must hear from us.  It is not enough that we attend the public hearing at Roxbury Community College on Tuesday, 19 January, at 6 p.m., but we must also contact our legislators directly by phone and by email.  Our legislators must hear from us that they cannot sit back and watch as our public mass transit system sinks into decay.

Here are links for contacting the representative and the state senator for Fort Hill.

Rep. Gloria L. Fox, Seventh Suffolk
Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, Second Suffolk

Do not neglect to contact the Leadership of the House and Senate.

Pres. Therese Murray, President of the Senate.
Speaker Robert J. DeLeo, Speaker of the House

Elected by your representative and state senator, they are answerable to us to.

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