FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, March 8, 2021
Contact on behalf of Public Transit Public Good Coalition:
Vishakha Mathur, firstname.lastname@example.org, 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.
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.