Menino, Advocates Urge Alternatives To MBTA Cuts
Boston's Mayor, the coalition Transportation For Massachusetts, and members of the Occupy Boston movement are all speaking out against the MBTA's two proposals.
"Riders should not be forced to shoulder the entire weight of this debt," said Mayor Menino in a letter to MBTA General Manager Richard Davey, as quoted in this article in the Boston Globe.
The Mayor also came out in favor of a gas tax or "another levy" to close the T's revenue gaps, and recommended that the Big Dig debt that the T is carrying be forgiven, a stance that is also popular with some members of the Occupy Boston group, Occupy The T.
In an article from the Boston Occupier, writer Doug Greene says that several present at a recent Occupy The T meeting, "argued that the banks should cancel the T’s debt."
Meeting attendees also supported greater taxes on the nation's top 1% of earners. Somerville resident Joe Ramsey said, “Public transportation should be a public right. The 1% needs people to get to work or school so they can run their companies. They should pay the travel costs.”
Menino did not propose an income tax, but in the Globe article he did say that the MBTA is "in desperate need of a dedicated revenue source."
Another organization, the coalition Transportation For Massachusetts, is speaking out against the MBTA's proposals for fare increases and service cuts.
Rafael Mares, a staff attorney at the Conservation Law Foundation speaking in a press release on behalf of Transportation For Massachusetts, said “The MBTA has created a false choice between draconian service cuts and drastic fare increases. The reality is it’s a lose-lose situation for transit users and Massachusetts.”
Mares also said, "The proposed fare increases and service cuts are unfair and only a band-aid. The MBTA’s proposals give the legislature a free pass, balancing the books solely on the backs of the riders."
In the Globe article Davey did not comment on the feasibility of Big Dig debt forgiveness, but did mention that, "At this point, [we] are trying to offer solutions that are in our toolbox," and that, "revenues from the state side do not seem to be forthcoming."