AS THE MBTA tries to resolve its budget crisis, it’s critical to remember that public transit’s role goes beyond moving people. It is vital in meeting the Commonwealth’s key goals: economic development, environmental sustainability, access to jobs, services, and schools, as well as reducing strain on roads.
Employers in the Longwood medical and academic area - where more than 40,000 people work - strongly support public transit. Employees here purchase $19 million in MBTA passes annually; more than half are subsidized by hospitals and colleges to encourage ridership.
With the highest debt of any transit authority in the country, with more than half due to Big Dig-related projects that the MBTA has had to assume, a financial solution is needed that should be statewide. And it cannot be borne solely by transit riders and employers, unless we want to jeopardize our economy, environment, and roads.