Based on the findings of a new report, workers and riders affirmed that voting Yes on 1 could provide necessary funding to aid the MBTA’s burgeoning safety crisis
BOSTON — As the crisis at the MBTA mounts ahead of the November elections, transit riders, workers, and allies rallied at Faneuil Hall on October 25 to call for a better future for Massachusetts public transit with the passage of Question 1 on the November ballot.
Riders, workers, and allies including Rep. Adrian Madaro and Sen. Lydia Edwards, rallied on the heels of a new report detailing that Question 1, known as the Fair Share Amendment, could pay for much-needed safety-related work and provide a stable funding source for the MBTA, making it safer and fairer for decades to come. If passed, Question 1 will create new funding for public education and transportation by requiring the rich to pay their fair share in taxes.
“Just a portion of the funds from this Amendment could provide the much-needed support to ensure the MBTA can pay for the preventative maintenance, repair, and inspections necessary to keep it running smoothly,” said Collique Williams, Senior Organizer, Community Labor United, and Member, Public Transit Public Good coalition. “By passing this initiative, we can fund the MBTA more fairly, and create the safe and well-maintained transit system the region needs.”
This funding is urgently needed as MBTA riders continue to face disastrous accidents, insufficient service, painfully slow trains, and shutdowns of key train routes. The report finds that Question 1 could provide a dedicated source of funds for maintenance and repair, keeping workers and riders secure while reducing pressure for the MBTA to cut service or raise fares in order to fund safety initiatives.
“The reality is, working families need to get to work on time, and they need to get their kids to medical appointments and school. We have to invest in the safety of riders. Voting Yes on Question 1 will make the MBTA safer and more fair,” said Representative Adrian Madaro.
“Public transportation is one of the few things that connect all of us regardless of our backgrounds,” said Senator Lydia Edwards. “The ability to move in a clean, efficient, timely way is necessary for our society, our state, and our economy to grow. Yes on 1 will ensure that we have the funds to continue to move in a direction that is equitable, diverse, and works for all of us.”
The new report by PTPG Coalition also reveals that nearly 60% of the MBTA is funded by sales taxes. With this funding structure, low-income families pay more in sales tax as a percentage of the household budget compared to wealthier households. The Fair Share Amendment would tax annual income over $1 million at a higher rate, and the resulting revenue could be used to fund the MBTA.
“During the orange line shutdown, it would take me close to two hours to get from Wakefield to Chelsea, and my new route would include a combination of local buses, walking, and shuttle buses,” said Mitikei Chengerei, a member of Chelsea-based GreenRoots. “The MBTA is a public good, and it should be reliable, affordable, and accessible to all communities. That’s why voting yes on Question 1 on November 8 will be vital for the future of the MBTA.”
The Fair Share Amendment is expected to generate $2 billion in new revenue, and workers, riders, and community leaders affirmed on Tuesday that it could provide a critical opportunity to get the MBTA on track through long-term, sustainable funding.
“Whether you ride the MBTA every day or not, we’re all in this together,” said Jim Evers, President of Boston Carmen’s Union Local 589. “Operators are dealing with a system that for far too long has been underfunded and sometimes ignored. We need better funding for the MBTA so we can safely do our jobs and keep Boston moving.”
About the 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.
Background on Question 1: the Fair Share Amendment:The Fair Share Amendment – Question 1 on the November ballot – will allow Massachusetts to improve our transportation and public education systems by making the very rich pay their fair share. Thousands of educators, workers, small business owners, parents, faith leaders, municipal officials, drivers and transit riders, and more than 350 organizations across the state are working together to pass Question 1. Our campaign has been endorsed by 80 labor unions, 63 community organizing groups, 15 faith-based groups, more than 75 businesses, and more than 100 other social service and not-for-profit organizations focused on housing, education, transportation, public health, and the environment. Learn more and get involved at FairShareMA.com.