MAPC calls on MBTA to keep transit service reliable and safe
For immediate release: Tuesday, October 20, 2020
The Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) today issued a statement on the MBTA's plan to address their FY22 operating budget deficit.
"The Metropolitan Area Planning Council is deeply concerned about the prospect of reducing transit service in the midst of a pandemic.
We have great respect for the budgetary challenges faced by transit agencies across the country, and are glad to see the MBTA prioritize service for populations that most depend on it.
However, as our region and Commonwealth continue to reopen amid an uptick in cases, safe transit service must remain a viable option to avoid worsening congestion and to maintain a reliable, COVID-safe way of getting around for essential workers and others who do not drive.
In addition to worsening pollution and losing progress toward our climate goals, reducing transit service will have long-term implications for economic development and our housing crisis. Municipalities make long-term zoning and planning decisions based on the promise of robust transit service. Reducing service with an unclear path for its return could undermine years of work to advance transit-oriented development, stall housing production near transit, and reduce access to business districts and downtowns when they need help most.
As discussed in the Oct. 19 FMCB/MassDOT Board meeting, there remains tremendous uncertainty about future travel behavior and how many of us will continue to work from home. MAPC strongly urges the FMCB to refrain from any decisions that would cause a permanent reduction in service.
Furthermore, given the ripple effect such decisions will have across our cities and towns, we ask the MBTA clearly communicate the anticipated scale of any service reduction, as well as its plan to restore service, under each service package proposed next month. This specificity is needed for riders and stakeholders to adequately evaluate each proposed option and understand how the MBTA might restore service as ridership patterns change in the future.
Finally, we urge the FMCB and MassDOT Board to join us in our calls to the Legislature to allocate more revenue for transportation. We, along with our partners, have been advocating for more revenue for transportation long before this pandemic began. This public health crisis has illuminated the financial fragility of our transportation system, and now is the time to advance these revenue-raising measures.”
Click here to read the comment letter MAPC submitted to the FMCB/MassDOT Board on Monday, October 19.