The business community appreciates the leadership of legislators in securing significant new funding for transportation. The new funds will stabilize the operating deficit of the MBTA, accelerate the repair of our roads and bridges, launch the Green Line extension, and more. However, as Paul McMorrow notes in his Oct. 8 op-ed column “Starving MBTA will stunt Boston’s growth,” we still lack the resources needed to support our long-term economic growth.
According to our recent study, “The Cost of Doing Nothing,” the state’s capital transportation expenditures created or supported an average of 24,847 jobs annually over the last five years. Additional investments would generate even greater benefits. Massachusetts’ unemployment rate remains high at 7.2 percent.
Many areas of Boston and the state are ripe for continued growth. The Longwood Medical Area is home to three of our city’s largest employers, and new development in the Innovation District is occurring every day. These areas and others are in serious need of improved transit connections and capacity.
To realize our full economic potential, we need to recognize that our existing transportation system is not positioned to accommodate Massachusetts’ potential job growth and projected travel demand. Failure to invest in transportation will negatively affect our economic competitiveness. As we elect a new mayor and, next year, a new governor, we must expect our leaders to continue to make the maintenance and expansion of our transportation system a top priority.