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.”
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.