Mass. Senate OK’s $49m MBTA bailout

Plan would avert bigger hikes, cuts

The state Senate agreed Tuesday to tap $49 million from a little-known state surplus to help the MBTA close its deficit for the coming year, avoiding steeper fare increases and wider service cuts than those scheduled for July 1.

The plan, approved by a 26-9 vote after lengthy debate, largely falls in line with a measure approved by the House last week and appears destined to receive Governor Deval Patrick’s signature before a June 30 deadline. Passage places an exclamation point at the end of six contentious months for the MBTA, when thousands of riders flooded public hearings to protest fare hikes and service cuts.

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