Saturday, April 6, 2013
Should the state forge ahead with Gov. Deval Patrick's bold plan to invest now? Or should it follow the Legislature leadership's proposal to address the bottom line before embarking on bigger initiatives?
Massachusetts legislators this week answered Gov. Deval Patrick's ambitious plan to raise $1.9 billion for transportation and education with a $500 million plan of their own, which says the governor is asking for too much, too soon as the Bay State shakes off the effects of the Great Recession. Who's right? Should the state forge ahead in a bold plan to invest now? Or should it cautiously address the bottom line before embarking on bigger initiatives? While Patrick's plan includes funding for both the state transportation system and increased education funding from preschool through college, House and Senate lawmakers eschew new revenue for education, focusing solely on closing the transportation budget gap over the next five years. The …
Monday, March 25, 2013
Without additional funding, MBTA officials are forced to make difficult choices.
MBTA riders could see fares go up in the not-so-distant future if legislators don’t accept Gov. Deval Patrick’s ambitious funding plan. MBTA General Manager Beverley Scott said Tuesday the T will likely hold off on spending $45 million for preventative maintenance and hike fairs to close a projected budget gap of $117 million, factoring in increased ridership and advertising this year, the Boston Globe reported Wednesday. Director of Strategic Initiatives for the MBTA Charles Planck said at a March 5 MBTA finance committee meeting that fare increases could go up 33 percent under the proposal, which means subway fares would move up from $2 to $2.60. Massachusetts Department of Transportation Secretary and CEO Richard Davey testified before …
Monday, March 18, 2013
The transportation bond bill would provide funding for modernization and maintenance of the transportation system.
Gov. Deval Patrick filed a transportation bond bill last Wednesday that will finance an ambitious 10-year plan to overhaul the state’s ailing transportation system. The bill would invest $13.7 billion over 10 years in The 21st Century Transportation Plan “The Way Forward” if it is accepted by the state’s legislature, according to a press release from the governor’s office. The funding would address a backlog of deferred maintenance and strategically improve the state’s transportation system by reducing congestion on roads, curbing delays and minimizing crowding on trains and buses, according to the press release. “These investments will create the jobs and opportunity today that will build a stronger Commonwealth for tomorrow,” Patrick …
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
From Feb. 8-13, commuter rail passengers will see an impact on train schedules due to construction on the Shawsheen River Bridges in Andover.
Editor's Note: The following information was provided by Massachusetts Bay Commuter Rail (MBCR). Beginning Friday, February 8, at 12:10 a.m. (early Saturday morning) rehabilitation work begins on the Shawsheen River Bridges in Andover. This necessary work will require bussing of Outbound passengers between Reading and Haverhill and of Inbound passengers between Haverhill and Reading on a number of non-peak hour trains through Wednesday, February 13. Weekday Track Outage Schedule, Monday, February 11 through Wednesday, February 13 Customers using service between Reading and Boston are not affected by this outage. Inbound - Passengers will be bussed on from Haverhill, Bradford, Lawrence, Andover, Ballardvale and North Wilmington directly…
Friday, January 25, 2013
YOUR TURN: Would you use later subway service? Hate it? State transportation officials are considering plans that would extend most weekend MBTA subway services to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday
It's a complaint we've all heard about the local nightlife: the country's oldest subway system doesn't run much later than 12:30 a.m., even on the weekend. But WCVB reports that could all change for riders this year, thanks to a pilot program proposed by state transportation officials that would keep the T open until 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday nights. "If additional operating funds are identified, major bus routes and the most heavily traveled portions of the subway and light rail systems will be considered as part of a pilot program," MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo said in a statement. The changes would require legislative approval and a likely tax or fee increase, according to the report. You can read details about other proposals—including…
Thursday, January 17, 2013
A new device will be distributed to conductors on MBTA conductors that will give them real-time information about trains all across the rail system.
A new pilot program being dubbed “Conductor Companion” is being unveiled on the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority’s commuter rail system, putting complete details about train services across the system in the hands of conductors. The Massachusetts Bay Commuter Railroad Company (MBCR), the contractor that runs the commuter railroad for the MBTA, made the announcement on Monday. While Stoneham does not have a commuter rail stop in town, residents jump on the train at stations in Reading, Wakefield and Melrose. Essentially, Conductor Companion is a unique mobile application that will allow conductors on the MBTA commuter rail system to receive real-time information about service for the first time. “The speed of technology today demands an …
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
The board of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation released its 21st Century Transportation Plan, which outlines the state’s budgetary needs over the course of the next 10 years and beyond.
With infrastructure in need of repairs and the major city transit system steeped in billions of dollars of debt, the state may need to increase revenue from car registrations, license renewals, taxes and tolls. The Board of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation released its 21st Century Transportation Plan on Monday, which calls for a $13 billion overall investment in state transportations systems over the next decade. The breakdown is as follows, according to a statement associated with the plan released by Transportation Secretary and CEO Richard A. Davey: To raise the necessary funds these recommendations will include an increase in the gas tax, payroll tax, sales tax or income tax; a new green fee on vehicle registrations; a …
Friday, January 11, 2013
Beverly Scott was a guest on the WGBH show Wednesday night.
The new MBTA general manager addressed issues of unpredictable subways, lack of late night service and fare hikes on a popular local talk show Wednesday night. MBTA General Manager Beverly Scott was the guest on WGBH news talk show Greater Boston, where she said despite the complaints, T ridership is doing quite well. “The first thing I’ll say is our ridership is up,” she said. “I think that is a real testament to how critical…public transportation is.” “Greater Boston” host Emily Rooney asked Scott about the massive debt the MBTA needs to overcome. The debt is estimated at $9 billion. “You don’t eat an elephant all at one time,” Scott said. “One of the rules of digging is when you find yourself in a hole you’ve got to stop digging the …
Friday, November 23, 2012
Gov. Deval Patrick plans to ask lawmakers to raises taxes to make up for the shortfall in Massachusetts' transportation system. What options should they consider and what's off the table?
Would you be willing to pay more at the pump, have a tracking system on your car that taxes you by the mile, or see tolls on state highways? Those are just some of the possibilities looming as Massachusetts looks to erase the state's transportation system's deficit. The Boston Globe reported that Gov. Deval Patrick will ask lawmakers to raise taxes in order to pay for a transportation system—from the MBTA to roads and bridges—that continues to operate in the red. The administration will present a specific proposal by Jan. 7. One option is raising the gas tax, a route Patrick sought in 2009 only to be rebuffed by the legislature. Patrick sought a 19 cent increase while business groups endorsed a 25 cent increase. Ultimately, the state …
Thursday, November 8, 2012
A Reading resident has proposed a non-MBTA bus line that would serve communities such as Stoneham, Reading, North Reading and Wakefield. Does Stoneham need a new bus line? Tell us in the comments section below.
Reading resident Linda Greenlaw recently proposed a bus service to both the Reading Town Manager and Reading Board of Selectmen, with the goal of providing transportation to residents in Stoneham, Reading, North Reading and Wakefield. With that in mind, we'd like to know: Does Stoneham need a second bus line? Stoneham has one bus line—the MBTA Bus 132 service—but we'd like to know if an additional bus line would be helpful to Stonehamites. Let us know your thoughts by posting a comment in the comments section below.