State should seize the moment to move boldly on transportation

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?

Read the full article at The Boston Globe

Put an end to cuts at the MBTA

LAST FALL, when the MBTA announced it was planning deep cuts to bus, train, ferry ,and commuter rail service, the opposition was swift and virtually unanimous Riders, workers, elected officials, and employers raised the alarm that T cuts would make it harder for essential workers to get to their jobs, worsen unemployment, disproportionately impact low-income people and communities of color, and take a deep and unnecessary toll on our region’s economic future. Unlikely allies joined in the insistence that T service is simply too important to cut. But the calls to stop cuts and make the T more affordable have not moved the Baker/Polito administration and the T executives under their authority.

Read the full article in CommonWealth Magazine

Labor, Community Groups To Baker-Polito Administration: Stop Damaging MBTA System

Labor, Community Groups To Baker-Polito Administration: Stop Damaging MBTA System

For Immediate Release:
Monday, January 25, 2021

For information contact on behalf of the Public Transit Public Good Coalition:
Orianna Tate, orianna@617mediagroup.com, 617-895-6783

Labor, Community Groups To Baker-Polito Administration: Stop Damaging MBTA System

Transit coalition demands use of millions in federal funds earmarked for the state for reversal of planned service cuts

BOSTON — Transit riders and workers from the Public Transit Public Good Coalition took a stand at Monday’s meeting of the MBTA Fiscal Management and Control Board to oppose the package of drastic service cuts previously approved by the board and blessed by the Baker-Polito administration.

“During this pandemic, we should be supporting our communities of color and low-income communities. Instead, they support measures that harm our people and restrict access to our public transit system,” said Lee Matsueda, Executive Director, Community Labor United. Community Labor United convenes the Public Transit Public Good coalition

Community and labor groups urged FMCB members at today’s virtual meeting to reverse their march to impose widespread cuts to bus, train, ferry, and commuter rail services. The FMCB approved those cuts in December over widespread opposition and despite a report from the MBTA Advisory Board finding that  “no budgetary justification to cut so much public transportation service at this time.” The MBTA Advisory Board is the public oversight group representing the municipalities who are served by the T and help fund it. 

The MBTA is set to receive several hundred million dollars from the federal COVID-19 relief package – the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA) – passed by Congress last month. However, T management and the Baker-Polito administration still plan to move forward with the majority — though not all — of their recently approved service cuts. Such shortsighted action would bring unnecessary harm to the agency and the state’s fledgling recovery from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

The MBTA plans to keep most of the cuts in place for at least the next few months even though it will be getting an injection of at least $250 million from the latest federal stimulus package. Agency officials decided instead to revive some paused capital projects and set a chunk of money aside to help restore service at a later, still-uncertain date. Governor Baker has defended the service cuts and said he’s against running trains and buses at pre-COVID levels due to reduced ridership, a policy the New York Times editorial board recently called ”small-minded and short-sighted.”

“We, the employees of the MBTA, are willing to work with management to find innovative ways to reduce costs while preserving services and protecting jobs,” said Jim Evers, president of the Boston Carmen’s Union. “Drivers are willing to work with the MBTA on tactics to quickly restore service as ridership returns. But the best way to restore service to a route is to not cut the route to begin with.”

“The board runs the risk of ramming through these cuts without knowing the full impact of what it will mean for the public,” said Mike Vartabedian, Assistant Directing Business Representative, Machinist Union District 15. “The MBTA risks making permanent cuts that could be devastating to the people and businesses that rely on public transit the most.”

Speakers also denounced Governor Baker’s decision to strike down a new legislative mandate requiring the MBTA to offer a low-income fare program

“Neighborhoods like Dorchester, Roxbury, Chinatown, Malden, Quincy, and Mattapan are home to thousands of workers whose jobs can’t be done from home, and are essential workers,” said Mark Liu, Operations and Development Director of the Chinese Progressive Association. “But they continue to make low wages and face greater workplace risks than ever. These are health care, restaurant, maintenance, and other workers who still commute every day. Many others have lost their jobs due to COVID. No one should not have to choose between paying for transit or paying for rent, food or childcare. The Legislature was right to pass the low-income fare.The Baker-Polito administration veto is a blow to Commonwealth residents who are struggling to make ends meet.”

Several coalition members said they hoped the FMCB would continue their advocacy for a low income fare program, as well as use new revenues to minimize and roll back cuts. The Coalition believes the MBTA should receive increased funding from progressive revenues such as an increase in the corporate income tax, in addition to using the expected CRRSAA federal aid – a follow-up to the broader CARES Act that provided – to offset the T’s projected budget shortfall. 

Changes to commuter rail and ferry service took effect on Saturday. In addition to the COVID relief bill approved by Congress last month, President Joe Biden has proposed another disaster relief bill containing another $20 billion earmarked for transit authorities. While passage is far from assured, it gives additional reasons for the FMCB and the Baker-Polito administration to reconsider slashing T service and jobs. 

“Eliminating or slashing service will only deepen existing inequities, and slow the region’s recovery by blocking access to jobs for people who cannot get to work without transit,” said Steve Tolman, President, Massachusetts AFL-CIO. “All of our communities deserve access to an equitable, and accessible transit system. But by barreling ahead with these service and job  cuts, the Board is ignoring the needs of those most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

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About Public Transit Public Good Coalition: 

Public Transit Public Good is a partnership of transit workers and riders throughout Massachusetts fighting for the future of public transit. Community Labor United convenes PTPG. Visit publictransitpublicgood.org to learn more.

Public Transit Public Good Coalition Issues Statement on the Appointment of Jamey L. Tesler as the Acting Department of Transportation Secretary

Public Transit Public Good Coalition Issues Statement on the Appointment of Jamey L. Tesler as the Acting Department of Transportation Secretary

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Friday, January 22, 2021

For information, contact on behalf of the Public Transit Public Good coalition:
Orianna Tate, orianna@617mediagroup.com, 617-895-6783

Public Transit Public Good Coalition Issues Statement on the Appointment of Jamey L. Tesler as the Acting Department of Transportation Secretary

Boston — Public Transit Public Good, a coalition of transit workers and riders throughout Massachusetts, recognizes the departure of Secretary of Transportation Stephanie Pollack for her new role as Deputy Administrator Federal Highway Administration, and the temporary appointment of Jamey L. Tesler as Acting Secretary. We look forward to working with Acting Secretary Tesler and hope we can come together on the urgent issues affecting transit workers and riders.

As they begin the process of identifying a new permanent Secretary of Transportation, the Baker-Polito administration has the opportunity to choose a new direction for transportation policy in Massachusetts. We urge the Baker-Polito administration to choose a leader who prioritizes the needs of working people, low-income communities and communities of color, and our threatened environment.

The new Secretary of Transportation should prioritize restoring and strengthening our public transit systems, including preventing and rolling back cuts at the MBTA; ensuring public transit is affordable for all in the Commonwealth; and ensuring transit workers and riders are adequately represented in transportation governance. Now more than ever, it is crucial to invest in services to help our state recover from the coronavirus pandemic’s impact. Riders and workers deserve a safe, affordable, and accessible public transit system. 

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About Public Transit Public Good Coalition: 

Public Transit Public Good is a partnership of transit workers and riders throughout Massachusetts fighting for the future of public transit. Community Labor United convenes PTPG. Visit publictransitpublicgood.org to learn more.

MA; Officials pressure MBTA to lay off service cuts as board plans vote

Dec. 14—Transit advocates aren’t backing down from the fight against a series of sweeping cuts to bus, subway and commuter rail services subject to a Monday vote that MBTA officials say are necessary to make up for lost revues amid the pandemic. 

“It’s clear that millions of Greater Boston residents oppose these MBTA cuts,” said Lee Matsueda, executive director of Community Labor United, the lead convener of the Public Transit Public Good coalition. “Our research shows that more than 70% of residents are concerned about the impact the cuts will have on safety for riders and workers.”

Read the full article in Mass Transit Magazine

Junta de la MBTA decidirá si se realizan recortes el lunes

Se espera que la junta de la MBTA votara sobre los recortes de servicios propuestos que limitarían severamente algunas de sus ofertas de transporte público en medio de la pandemia, el lunes, a medida que crecen los pedidos de que la agencia cambie sus planes.

Se esperaba que la Junta de Control Fiscal y de Gestión de MBTA votara sobre los recortes durante una reunión a las 12 p.m.

 

Read the full article in Telemundo

Officials pressure MBTA to lay off service cuts as board plans vote

Transit advocates aren’t backing down from the fight against a series of sweeping cuts to bus, subway and commuter rail services subject to a Monday vote that MBTA officials say are necessary to make up for lost revues amid the pandemic.

“It’s clear that millions of Greater Boston residents oppose these MBTA cuts,” said Lee Matsueda, executive director of Community Labor United, the lead convener of the Public Transit Public Good coalition. “Our research shows that more than 70

Read the full article in The Boston Herald

MBTA service will be cut significantly in early 2021

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority will curtail service next year after the agency’s oversight board finalized a plan Monday to reduce subway frequencies and eliminate weekend commuter rail trains on several lines in response to low ridership during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The package, approved 3-2 by the MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board, is more limited in scope than a plan the agency had presented in November that frustrated advocates and political leaders, but still represents a considerable reduction in service.

 

Read the full article in The Boston Globe

MBTA Board OKs Cuts to Bus Routes, Weekend Commuter Rail and More

Significant MBTA service cuts will hit early next year after the agency’s oversight board voted 3-2 in favor of the amended plan Monday afternoon, capping off months of planning and public outcry.

The Fiscal and Management Control Board approved virtually all of the changes that T staff proposed, making only a handful of tweaks aimed at keeping some commuter rail service after 9 p.m. possible, setting a target date for determining if the agency needs to increase service, and ensuring that fare hikes will not factor into upcoming T budget deliberations.

Read the full article in NBC Boston