Gutting the T is no way to chart a visionary path
Re “Massachusetts needs a strong transportation vision — and a leader who can carry it out” (Editorial, Feb. 7): The stars are indeed aligning, providing a unique opportunity to leverage both state and federal resources to address the state’s longstanding transportation challenges. But how can we take advantage of this opportunity if the Baker administration and MBTA leadership are dedicated to gutting the T’s budget and services?
The agency’s Fiscal and Management Control Board recently voted to slash services on the T and commuter rail in ways that threaten its long-term viability, in a misguided attempt to address a revenue shortfall caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Riders, workers, and businesses are hurting and have warned in unison that these cuts would make it harder for essential workers to get to their jobs, would worsen unemployment, and would disproportionately affect low-income people and communities of color.
Governor Baker dealt a further blow by vetoing a proposal that would have lowered fares for those in need. Baker and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito must recognize that their current efforts are damaging to particularly vulnerable, struggling communities that have already been, and continue to be, hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Pamela “Mela” Bush-Miles
Director, transit-oriented development and the T Riders Union
Alternatives for Community and Environment
We know where to invest to bring our system into 21st century
Years of inaction have compounded the deficiencies with our outdated transit system, hindering economic growth and worsening existing inequity. We agree with the Globe editorial board that bold action is overdue, and now is the time for Massachusetts to make the big decisions needed to modernize our transportation system.
We already know which investments and policies will bring our transportation infrastructure into the 21st century. Reimagining urban areas to support multimodal transportation options, expanding bus rapid transit, implementing congestion pricing, making public transit more affordable and reliable, empowering regional transportation authorities with more funding, and shifting from a plug-the-holes mentality to a strategy of proactive investment will all be key to creating a modern transit system to support our economy as we recover from the pandemic and long afterward.
With a new presidential administration, a progressive transportation secretary, and several members of the Massachusetts delegation in leadership positions, this is the time for us to invest in transportation infrastructure. We cannot afford to continue surrendering our transportation system to the challenges of the moment. Let’s take advantage of this opportunity to change direction.
Alliance for Business Leadership
The writer is a former Massachusetts state representative.