Public Transit Public Good Coalition Issues Statement on the FMCB’s Decision to Restore MBTA service

Public Transit Public Good Coalition Issues Statement on the FMCB’s Decision to Restore MBTA service

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Monday, March 29, 2021

Contact on behalf of Public Transit Public Good Coalition:
Vishakha Mathur, vishakha@617mediagroup.com, 617-485-7709

 

Public Transit Public Good Coalition Issues Statement on the FMCB’s Decision to Restore MBTA service

 

MA — The following statement has been issued by the Public Transit Public Good coalition on the FMCB’s decision to restore MBTA’s operating budget  to pre-pandemic levels:

After receiving a new $1 billion in federal funding, the  MBTA today confirmed that it will fully fund its operating budget in the coming fiscal year and begin to restore cut service. At Monday’s Fiscal and Management Control Board meeting, board members voted to restore bus and subway service to pre-pandemic levels, reinstate weekend commuter rail on lines on which it had been suspended, and resume ferry service, all “as soon as possible.” 

“The Public Transit Public Good Coalition has opposed MBTA service and job cuts since they were first proposed last fall, and applauds this decision to bring back reduced service. However, we remain concerned regarding the pace of service restoration and call on the MBTA to ensure that full funding is used to restore cuts as quickly as possible. 

It is disappointing that the MBTA has not been able to say with certainty when or whether all nine suspended bus lines will be reinstated. Over the past year, the Authority has not continued regular hiring to replace workers who have left the MBTA or are unable to work due to COVID-related illness. We are encouraged that the Authority has committed to an aggressive hiring program, and believe that a return to robust staffing will provide the much-needed support to bring back service.

The difficulties in restoring service underscore that the MBTA and the Baker/Polito administration should have never considered cutting service during the pandemic. Our essential workers, among others, have continued to rely on the MBTA, to deliver critical services. Moving forward, we must adequately fund our public transit system to ensure our trains, buses, trolleys, and paratransit are safe, affordable, and accessible to all who need them. 

We look forward to working with the Massachusetts legislature to adopt common-sense progressive revenue options to fund transit, like raising the tax rates on unearned income and corporate income and ultimately passing Fair Share Amendment to ensure the super-rich do their part to fund public transit.

As an organization of transit workers and riders, PTPG members have opposed cuts that would make it harder for essential workers to get to their jobs, disproportionately impact low-income people and communities of color, worsen unemployment, and hurt our region’s economy. We are grateful to the thousands of riders and workers who have joined with us, and to the many elected officials at all levels who have stood with us to call for an end to cuts.

 

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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. 

 

U.S. Senator Warren, Representative Clark, State Senator Boncore Join Growing Opposition to the Unnecessary MBTA Cuts 

U.S. Senator Warren, Representative Clark, State Senator Boncore Join Growing Opposition to the Unnecessary MBTA Cuts 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, March 19, 2021

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

 

U.S. Senator Warren, Representative Clark, State Senator Boncore Join Growing Opposition to the Unnecessary MBTA Cuts

Elected officials, riders and workers spoke at the Public Transit Public Good’s virtual rally to demand Baker-Polito Administration reverse MBTA cuts, especially since the agency will receive close to a billion dollars in new federal aid

 

BOSTON — U.S. Senator Warren, Representative Clark, and State Senator Joseph Boncore joined the voices of workers and riders during an online rally today, urging the Baker-Polito Administration and the MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board to reverse deep service cuts, the most recent of which were phased in on Sunday. 

“Despite the desperately needed funding, the MBTA instituted another round of deep service cuts this past Sunday, cutting bus times, increasing wait times between busses and subways, and making other changes that diminish the system we rely on,” said Collique Williams, Organizer, Community Labor United. “Our message today is that those funds must be used to restore full service now.”

“People throughout the Commonwealth who rely on public transportation are the very essential workers who have stepped up to help us during this public health crisis,” said U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren. “Despite the additional $1 billion in federal relief coming to Massachusetts in the American Rescue Plan, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) service cuts have gone into effect. I will continue to fight with my partners in the delegation to ensure that the federal assistance Congress has provided will be used to completely restore all service cuts as soon as possible.”

“Today, we stand together to oppose the unfair and the unnecessary cuts at the MBTA,” said Congresswoman Katherine Clark, via a pre-recorded video. “I have been proud to work with my colleagues in the Mass. Delegation to deliver significant emergency transit funding for the Commonwealth at this critical time. Since December, Congress has already secured over $250 million for the MBTA, and last week, we passed the American Recovery Plan, which will provide an additional $1 billion in transit funding for the Commonwealth. Yet, despite this infusion of funding, MBTA forges ahead with these cuts without explanation…We call on the MBTA to reverse these cuts to ensure that we can rebuild an economy that is equitable and inclusive for all.”

“Those who rely on public transit, from essential workers to frontline workers to individuals and families; we must affirm together that public transit is a public good,” said State Senator Joseph Boncore. “A reliable and affordable and an efficient public transportation system is essential to this Commonwealth’s health and economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Public Transit Public Good is calling on Governor Charlie Baker, Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, and the FMCB to use the nearly $1 billion the MBTA will receive from the American Rescue Plan to restore full service. Frequency cuts of up to 20% have reduced capacity on the MBTA’s Red, Orange, and Green lines and more than 20 bus routes, while several bus routes have also been eliminated. Because of the cuts, 40 commuter rail operators will lose their jobs, and it will be harder for frontline workers and other transit dependent people to get to their jobs, medical appointments, and more. 

“Now, the MBTA is talking about layoffs for their workers, who came to work risking their lives and their family’s lives, by potentially bringing home the virus,” said William Foley, President, Local Lodge 264 Machinists Union. “What did they get in return? Being potentially laid off. This is 100% unacceptable. We deserve better and we demand better.” 

The MBTA has received more than a billion dollars in federal aid money so far, and just last week President Biden signed a new historic aid package that will bring close to a billion more. Those federal funds are meant to help riders who depend on public transit now, protect the transit workers who get people where they need to go, and ensure the state’s buses, trains, and subways are there for Massachusetts residents as vaccination rates rise and ridership goes back up.

“I take the bus and subway to work at the Golden Age Center early in the morning and late at night. I take care of the elderly and they rely on me,” said Hui Qin Huang, Program Assistant at the Greater Boston Chinese Golden Age Center. “Because of the service cuts, it has made an already long commute longer. I used to be able to catch the bus soon after I arrived at the bus stop. Now I have to wait half an hour. I didn’t know the service cuts were going into effect and I arrived late to work. This is harmful to my patients.”

“Our workers have been affected. We are wondering who is going to be next,” said Jim Evers, President, Carmen’s Union Local 589. “These cuts will increase crowding on our buses and on our trains. This causes a safety issue for the public and the transit workers. Overcrowding will remain an issue.”

“It has been clear to me from Day 1 that the workers’ interests, the riders’ interests are absolutely identical. You are us, we are you,” said Maureen Cawley, Chelsea resident and a rider of 112 bus. “The other point is that we have to stop them from…the atrocity of taking away services from the most vulnerable population in the epicenter of the COVID epidemic.”

“Today, we are here to make our voices here, to demand Gov. Baker, Lt. Gov. Polito and the FMCB reverse the cuts made to our MBTA,” said Amanda Chapin, Union Representative, TCU IAM Lodge 1089, and Division Chairperson of TCU IAM Unit 86. “The MBTA has made deep cuts to commuter rail service, cutting weekend service on a majority of lines, closing five stations, and reducing service overall by 14%. These cuts have made an impact on my colleagues, customer-service reps, store clerks, and other workers.”

The cuts are deeply unpopular. Hundreds of people have called Governor Baker’s office urging him to use the federal stimulus bill funds to roll back cuts, reinstitute full service, and support a reduced fare for low-income riders. 

“Our patients and community members rely on public transportation for their medical appointments at DotHouse,” said Michelle Nadow, CEO, Dothouse Health. “The #18 bus stops right in front of our building and provides convenient access to our health center for our patients and staff. As of this week, the #18 bus has been suspended. These changes make it more difficult for our patients and cut access to our food pantry, COVID-19 Testing Unit, COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic, and other important healthcare and social services. All needed services and even more vital during the COVID 19 pandemic. We hope that the decision-makers can hear our demands and make the necessary changes to resolve these rising issues.”

“These service cuts don’t just harm riders today, they pose a grave risk to our future,” said Jarred Johnson, Executive Director, TransitMatters. “These cuts, happening as the Commonwealth opens up businesses, attempts to speed up vaccinations, send the wrong signal. The cuts tell riders that their needs don’t matter and political posturing is more important than providing access to low-income riders, seniors, young people, essential workers, and more. It’s disappointing to see the MBTA appropriating the language of equity to tell environmental justice communities ‘be happy we didn’t cut your service as much’ meanwhile, the cuts restrict access for those without vehicles. These cuts run the risk of dampening demand, giving the T another excuse to cut service in the future. We, at the Transit Is Essential campaign, say “Stop Balancing The Budget On The Backs Of Riders” and that Public Transit Is A Public Good. Reverse these cuts and put the people’s money into running service for them today!”

Public Transit Public Good is also calling on Governor Baker and the MBTA to support a reduced fare for low-income riders. Given the unemployment and economic hardship of the past year, helping those who need it most is the right thing to do. The state’s economic recovery will be robust when all of us can afford to travel for work, errands, and medical care. 

 

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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. 

 

ONLINE RALLY: STOP THE MBTA CUTS

ONLINE RALLY: STOP THE MBTA CUTS

ONLINE RALLY

The US Congress and newly-elected Biden-Harris Administration is providing about a  billion dollars in new COVID relief aid to the MBTA as part of the historic American Rescue PlanHowever, Governor Charlie Baker, Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, and the MBTA have ignored this promising news and decided to plow ahead with major cuts to the T’s services.

Governor Baker and Lieutenant Governor Polito’s “small-minded and short-sighted” transit policy is hurting low-income communities and communities of color. As part of the Public Transit Public Good coalition, we are raising our voices once and hosting an online rally this Friday, March 19, at 11 a.m., to call onGovernor Baker, Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, and the MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board to reverse the cuts made to the agency. Several elected officials will join the coalition, including Senator Elizabeth Warren, to voice their opposition to the MBTA cuts.

 

Online Rally: Save The MBTA

Friday, March 19, 2021 | 11 a.m. to Noon

Join us on Zoom: http://bit.ly/MBTAOnlineRally ; Password: 898527

OR watch on Facebook at @CLUMassachusetts

*Language interpretation will be available via Zoom. 

 

Without reliable and affordable transportation, those of us who use transit the most — including working families, Black and brown communities, and many essential workers — struggle to get where we’re going. We need better service and a reduced low-income fare to get to jobs, school, and medical appointments. We hope that you will join us and demand an end to the MBTA cuts. 

Public Transit Coalition Calls For Using Federal Stimulus Funds To Further Offset Service Cuts

Public Transit Coalition Calls For Using Federal Stimulus Funds To Further Offset Service Cuts

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Monday, March 8, 2021

 

Contact on behalf of Public Transit Public Good Coalition:

Vishakha Mathur, vishakha@617mediagroup.com, 617-485-7709

 

Public Transit Coalition Calls For Using Federal Stimulus Funds To Further Offset Service Cuts

During the FMCB meeting, coalition member urges FMCB and Governor Charlie Baker to listen to the voices of riders and continue to reverse the MBTA cuts

BOSTON, MA — With another massive federal aid bill likely to be signed by President Biden this week, there is little reason for the MBTA to move ahead with deep service cuts.  Indeed, today the Transportation Authority announced it is  backing away from some cuts approved in December, but more decisive action is needed to further restore service and ensure affordable, equitable access.

Public Transit Public Good, a broad coalition of transit workers and riders, saw its co-chair  give powerful testimony before the board Monday addressing new federal funding and MBTA plans to call off some of the deeply unpopular cuts scheduled to take place this spring. The MBTA says cuts to bus frequency will not be as deep as planned, and that the agency will continue commuter rail service after 9pm.  Still on the cutting block are twenty bus routes slated for suspension, as well as  frequency reductions on the subway. Deep cuts to weekend commuter rail service and ferry service took place in January.

“The Public Transit Public Good Coalition is encouraged by the US Congress’ action to ensure robust new funding for public transit systems.  We call on the MBTA to use this new infusion of aid to build back service as quickly as possible, and ensure affordable, and equitable service for the region. The essential workers and transit-dependent riders who have been deeply impacted by this pandemic are depending on swift restoration of service,” said Mike Vartebedian, Assistant Directing Business Representative of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), District 15 and co-chair of the PTPG  coalition.

The US Senate passed a $1.9 trillion aid package this weekend, which is expected  to be signed into law by President Biden this week. The MBTA has already received more than $1 billion in emergency federal aid, and this bill is likely to provide about another $800 million.

Reversing course on cuts will benefit the essential workers who rely on mass transit during the pandemic, and need reliable, uncrowded public transportation to be able to get to and from work safely.

The coalition previously launched a sweeping ad campaign and a call-in action urging the public to call Governor Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito in order to demand that they do the right thing to safeguard the public transportation system — and to protect the people who rely on it the most.

 

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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.

Pressure Mounts on Gov. Baker to Stop Slashing MBTA Services and Jobs

Pressure Mounts on Gov. Baker to Stop Slashing MBTA Services and Jobs

For Immediate Release:
Thursday, February 25, 2021

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

Pressure Mounts on Gov. Baker to Stop Slashing MBTA Services and Jobs   

Sweeping advertising blitz highlights Gov. Baker and Lt. Gov Polito’s short-sighted approach to public transit and constant blows to MBTA riders and workers 

Watch the TV Ad here

Boston — Deeply unpopular MBTA service cuts backed by the Baker-Polito administration will be rolled out soon, and a coalition of transit riders and workers is advertising their opposition. The Public Transit Public Good Coalition launched a sweeping ad campaign Friday, drawing attention to the harsh impact of the cuts on low-income communities and communities of color who are already disproportionately affected by the coronavirus pandemic.  

While deep cuts were framed initially as a necessary last resort, by December, it was clear that the cuts to service and jobs were coming from the top. Governor Charlie Baker and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito have disregarded the needs of hundreds of thousands of current riders, including disproportionately low-income people and people of color, by suggesting service was unneeded because buses were “empty.” 

Watch the ad here: 

“These cuts will harm communities who already have been severely affected by COVID,” said Olivia Nichols, Transit Justice Organizer, GreenRoots. GreenRoots is a member of the Public Transit Public Good coalition. “During such a severe pandemic, we should be supporting our communities of color and low-income communities. Instead, the Baker-Polito Administration is pushing measures that would restrict access to our public transit system.”

GreenRoots is a part of the Public Transit Public Good Coalition, a growing group of MBTA riders and workers fighting for an affordable and accessible MBTA system. The coalition is calling upon the Baker-Polito administration to ensure federal stimulus money received by the MBTA is used to prevent or roll back service cuts. 

“The MBTA has received more than $1 billion in federal emergency aid since the pandemic started, and more is likely to come in the next few months,” said Chrissy Lynch, Chief of Staff, Massachusetts AFL-CIO. “The Baker-Polito administration should use this money to prevent cuts and improve equity and accessibility. We need better service and a reduced low-income fare to get to jobs, school, and medical appointments. The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has made public transit even more critical for those in need.” 

The 60-sec video ad details the harm the MBTA staff and service cuts will cause amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. It will air during prime-time and daytime television on top-rated television stations, including CNN, MSNBC, History, NECN and CNBC. 

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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. 

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.