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Comments delivered at MBTA Fare Proposal Public Hearing on Feb 27, 2019

Comments delivered at MBTA Fare Proposal Public Hearing on Feb 27, 2019

WalkBoston is greatly concerned that the MBTA’s proposal to increase fares will reduce public transit ridership and increase driving, congestion, and greenhouse gas emissions. This is the wrong direction for the Greater Boston area and for Massachusetts as a whole. We need more people riding transit, not fewer, if we are to meet our climate change goals as a Commonwealth.

We are further concerned that the proposed fare increase will disproportionately impact low-income riders, who often lack other means of transportation. Paired with walkable streets and neighborhoods, a reliable, consistent public transportation system is a lifeline for many people. It is an important element of good quality of life, as well as economic and social mobility, for many Greater Boston and Massachusetts residents.

The debate over increasing MBTA fares is a symptom of a much larger problem: how we fund transportation in Massachusetts is broken, and we fail to consider our transportation system as a whole. MBTA riders are asked to pay more time and time again, yet the gas tax has only been increased once since 1991 (in 2013, by just 3 cents). Meanwhile our Regional Transit Authorities continue to struggle and our roads and bridges face significant funding gaps. We need to raise revenue across all travel modes to support the infrastructure needed for all travel modes.

Massachusetts is not short on ideas for increasing transportation funding. This problem has been studied extensively and solutions are within reach. What is lacking is political will. We encourage the MBTA to work with MassDOT and other stakeholders to find new sources of revenue to equitably invest in the 21st-century transportation system we all deserve.

Thank you.

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