‘We are angry and we are disappointed’: Opposition to the proposed MBTA service cuts is growing

Boston.com

Citing potential lost opportunities for economic growth, essential workers in need of reliable transportation, and the push to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, advocates and officials are raising their voices to call on MBTA leaders to reconsider proposed service cuts as the system suffers pandemic-related financial losses.

On Thursday, a rolling rally of transit workers and riders organized by the Public Transit Public Good Coalition brought that message outside the State Transportation Building in Downtown Boston.

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‘Too Drastic,’ MBTA Riders, Workers Protest Massive Service Cut Proposal

BOSTON (CBS) – A large group of MBTA riders and workers held a rolling rally in Boston Thursday morning to protest drastic service cuts proposed by the T.

The rally was organized by Public Transit Public Good, which says on its website that it is “a partnership of transit workers and riders throughout Massachusetts fighting for the future of public transit.”

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COMMUTERS PROTEST PLANNED MBTA SERVICE CUTS

Community members and labor groups participated in a rally to oppose MBTA service cuts, on November 19. The protest, organized by Public Transit Public Good, began at Summer Street in the Seaport District and moved to the State Transportation Building. Speakers addressed the importance of having accessible, affordable public transportation and the tens of thousands of people who depend upon the T to get to work, school, and other destinations.

“Covid-19 has reshaped our daily lives,” said executive director of Community Labor United Lee Matsueda, in a press release. “Bus and train services remain critical for the riders who take hundreds of thousands of trips every day, and especially the essential workers who have kept our communities running during this pandemic. Now, more than ever, we need a transit system that works for all of us, and that means a safe, affordable, and accessible service.”

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Rolling rally to protest planned MBTA service cuts

BOSTON —
A broad coalition of riders, workers and labor unions is planning a protest and rolling rally outside the MBTA’s Boston headquarters as the agency mulls service cuts.

MBTA officials want to eliminate 25 bus routes, weekend commuter rail service, ferries and more.

The transit agency is dealing with a considerable budget gap due to low ridership and declining fare revenue during the pandemic.

The rolling rally begins at 10 a.m. with cars and bikes gathering on Summer Street in the Seaport to start the ride to the transportation building on Stuart Street.

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MBTA Employees, Commuters Rally Against Proposed Service Cuts

A group of MBTA employees and commuters were scheduled to hold a rolling rally outside the agency’s Boston headquarters on Thursday morning to speak out against proposed service cuts.

The rally, organized by Public Transit Public Good, was in response to proposed service cuts the MBTA put forward earlier this month due to a decline in ridership and revenue as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Read the full article on NBC Boston

Workers and Riders Rally for a Safe Transit System

Workers and Riders Rally for a Safe Transit System

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Massive, socially-distanced rolling rally to the State Transportation Building demanded that the FMCB not cut MBTA service and jobs

BOSTON — Transit riders, workers, and community leaders came together Thursday to oppose significant service and job cuts proposed for the MBTA. The rolling demonstration through downtown Boston ended with a rally at the State Transportation Building, and emotional testimonials from speakers about the pain these cuts will inflict on families and communities throughout the state.

Communities that rely on public transit have been shaken by recent proposals from MBTA executives to enact devastating cuts to the agency, slashing commuter rail, bus,  subway, and ferry service. Public Transit Public Good, a broad coalition of transit workers and riders, organized the rally in advance of an MBTA hearing that evening. 

“The state has been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic. People need support, not a rollback in essential services,” said Lee Matsueda, Executive Director of Community Labor United, which convenes the Public Transit Public Good coalition. “Now more than ever, we need a safe, affordable, and accessible transit system that works for all.”

“Transit justice is social justice,” said Jim Evers, President, Boston Carmen’s Union, Local 589. “Public transit is a public good, and we’re in this fight for the long haul.”

“There are many neighborhoods that could become inaccessible without adequate public transportation, limiting the ability of people to access critical health services,” said Susan Backstrom, Member, GreenRoots. “The MBTA and our elected officials need to consider the needs of the people in these neighborhoods before just cutting them off from the services they desperately need.”

The rally-goers urged the FMCB to rethink these deep and long-term cuts and instead seek new revenues. President-Elect Biden has pledged hundreds of millions in infrastructure investments. Here in Massachusetts, progressive revenues could be generated by raising the corporate income tax rate and other measures. It is foolish to make drastic, long-lasting cuts when new resources could become available. Most of the proposed cuts would take place beginning in July 2021. 

“Even as COVID-19 has reshaped our daily lives, bus and train service remains critical to countless riders, especially to the frontline essential workers who have kept our communities running during the pandemic,” said Chrissy Lynch, Chief of Staff, Massachusetts AFL-CIO. “We deserve a safe and reliable transit system. Instead of cutting service, the FMCB should make long-overdue investments in public transit.”

“We are encouraged by the turnout today, on foot, by car and bike, and online,” said Darlene Lombos, Executive Secretary-Treasurer, Greater Boston Labor Council. “It is so moving to see transit riders and transit workers coming together with one voice to send a clear message that public transit must be protected. Massachusetts should be investing more in public transportation, not less. We should be increasing access to the communities most in need, not cutting them off from their jobs and schools.”

Riders throughout the MBTA system still take hundreds of thousands of trips a day to get to work, school, medical appointments, and other important destinations. The essential workers we rely on during the pandemic need reliable and uncrowded public transportation to get to and from work safely. 

Hundreds of jobs will be lost if the MBTA’s Fiscal Management and Control Board votes to approve proposed cuts. Sweeping layoffs across the system would further destabilize Massachusetts families and communities and leave the MBTA unable to quickly restart cut services as demand for public transit rebounds.  

“The people being hurt by these cuts are the people who have risked and suffered the most during this terrible pandemic,” said Mike Vartabedian, Assistant Directing Business Representative of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), District 15. “It is unfair for the MBTA and our elected officials to ask these people to suffer an even greater loss.”

“We’re the ones keeping this system running,” said Karen Maxwell, Assistant Secretary, Boston Carmen’s Union, Local 589. “Cuts are not acceptable.”

The pandemic‐induced drop in fare revenue has exacerbated the MBTA’s chronic underfunding and our Commonwealth’s public transit system. Instead of cuts, the coalition asks the FMCB to focus instead on capturing sustainable, progressive, and equitable new revenue.

“Now is the time to invest in an equitable, safe, and reliable public transit system that serves everyone, especially those in communities that have been under-resourced for decades,” said Marie-Frances Rivera, President, MassBudget. “The proposed service cuts to address the T’s revenue shortfall could threaten the safety of riders and shift more people back into cars further harming our environment.”

In its effort to make transit safe for our communities, the coalition announced that it would begin a sweeping advertising campaign hitting airwaves next week. Ads will air during prime-time and daytime television on top-rated television stations, including CNN, MSNBC History, and CNBC. The campaign will also be featured on digital platforms.

Invest in our Public Transit with Corporate Fair Share Policies

Invest in our Public Transit with Corporate Fair Share Policies

Large corporations and their wealthy shareholders have used loopholes, tax breaks, and weak corporate disclosure laws to avoid paying their fair share of taxes for years. In the last four years alone, large corporations have received federal tax cuts worth billions of dollars a year in Massachusetts. 

And during this economic crisis, many of these corporations have continued to generate enormous profits that flow to their extremely wealthy shareholders, even as most families are struggling just to get by. It’s time that they pay what they owe to support our economic recovery. 

Raising progressive revenue to fund needed public goods—including public transit will — help prevent a long recession, fight inequality, and advance economic opportunity.   Legislators should adopt policies that ask profitable corporations and their wealthy shareholders to do their part for our economic recovery.

  • Increase The Tax Rate On Corporate Profits. Businesses that are turning a profit should be expected to contribute more to support the public goods on which their profits are based, especially during a public health and state fiscal crisis. Raising the current rate of 8% to the pre-2010 rate of 9.5% could generate $375 – $500 million annually from profitable businesses, even during a recession. 

  • Tax Profits Shifted Overseas by Increasing The Tax Rate On GILTI (Global Intangible Low Taxed Income). Many multinational corporations that do business in MA dodge taxes through accounting schemes that make their MA-based profits look like they were earned in offshore tax havens. This “income shifting” often places profits beyond the reach of US tax authorities. MA should follow many other states and match the federal provision that makes half of this income subject to tax. This could generate $200 – $400 million annually.
  • Advance the Fair Share Amendment. The very wealthy can afford to contribute more to the public good. The Fair Share Amendment would create an additional tax of four percentage points on the portion of a person’s annual income above $1 million. The new revenue, approximately $2 billion a year, would be spent on quality public education and transportation, creating a new source of progressive funding for public transportation. This year, the Massachusetts Legislature must approve the Amendment at the Constitutional Convention, so it can move to the ballot in 2022.