For Immediate Release: Friday, July 8th 2022
The Metropolitan Mayors Coalition has advocated for a fully funded, safe, reliable, frequent, and accessible transportation system since the Coalition was founded in 2001. The MBTA is a lifeline for our residents, providing access to jobs, school, shopping, recreation, and services. Bolstering use of transit is also a key element of the Commonwealth’s plans to reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions. When service is reduced, so is our entire region’s quality of life, as residents are forced to make compromises that only serve to hurt our economy, the environment, or both.
Given these priorities, we urge swift action to restore the MBTA’s service levels, along with a longer-term financial commitment so that we can usher in a strong and equitable recovery for our residents and our region.
Many of the residents who rely on the T are the same people that we lauded as “essential workers” during the height of the pandemic. A well-functioning and safe MBTA is what allowed them to get to work and is a critical component of a strong recovery.
Now, the MBTA is cutting service to address critical safety issues, many of which were originally cited in the 2019 report of the Safety Review Panel established by the Fiscal Management and Control Board (FMCB). This Coalition, in the summer of 2020, encouraged the T to implement some of these changes during the pandemic when ridership was lower.
Financial resources are necessary to implement a myriad of safety recommendations, including those recommendations that will be forthcoming from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). We urge the Legislature and Governor Baker to invest substantial dollars from the state’s current budgetary surplus to allow the MBTA to address all significant safety concerns and to restore service at the earliest possible date. We hope the Legislature passes additional funds for MBTA safety upgrades in the Transportation Bond Bill currently before it. In addition to these funds, we urgently need a long-term sustainable funding source to continue uninterrupted service in the years ahead.
This Coalition has always called for additional investments in MBTA operations, maintenance, and repair, to ensure that transit-dependent and low-income residents can access the T without serious financial burden. We are committed to working with the T to take steps to protect low-income riders by creating a means-tested fare program.
Cutting service hurts all of us, but especially the communities that were most impacted by the pandemic. Furthermore, increasingly crowded trains constitute an additional safety issue that puts our residents at risk. We cannot afford to fail our communities again.
The Metropolitan Mayors Coalition is a group of cities and towns in the urban core of Metro Boston whose leaders gather to exchange information and create solutions for common problems. The municipal officials in this group represent more than 1.4 million residents in the cities and towns of Arlington, Boston, Braintree, Brookline, Cambridge, Chelsea, Everett, Malden, Medford, Melrose, Newton, Quincy, Revere, Somerville, and Winthrop.