Friday, May 29, 2009

TGIF!

I don't know about you, but sometimes the short work weeks seem longer than the regular work weeks! And speaking of work, my schedule has been so wacky lately it's impacting my ability to consistently update Train Stopping ... that and I have been driving in a fair bit because there's nothing worse than working a 12 hour day, waiting for the 8:20 PM or 10:20 PM train and not getting home until midnight ... then getting up at 5:45 AM to do it all again.

This morning's commute on the P508 was right on time, we arrived to South Station at 8:22 AM.

According to an article in yesterday's Globe, plans for toll increases on the Pike and fare hikes and service reductions on the MBTA are on target to be implemented, if the sales tax increase is not implemented. Last week, the House and Senate passed budgets that would increase the state sales tax from 5 percent to 6.25 percent and devote about $275 million to transportation. The noteworthy thing about these budgets is that they are veto-proof.

Lawmakers appear committed to preventing the hefty toll increases that are otherwise set to take effect July 1. Lawmakers have made less of a public commitment to rescuing the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority from its $160 million deficit. The MBTA passed a budget earlier this year that presumes there will be a legislative bailout. But an advisory panel, which has the final word on the authority's budget, is expected to reject that plan at a meeting today. Instead, the MBTA Advisory Board will consider a budget that lays off about 1,200 MBTA employees - putting further pressure on the T to begin publicly planning service cuts and fare hikes.

In practice, the T would still have several months of public hearings to decide what combination of layoffs, service cuts or fare hikes it would impose to plug its budget gap. General manager Daniel A. Grabauskas said in an e-mail yesterday that he is "very much encouraged by the support in the House and Senate for transportation reform and new funding that is currently pending."

Assuming the Legislature keeps its transportation commitment at $275 million, there would be enough to avoid fee hikes on both the turnpike and the T for another year. But, that totally leaves out residents in Western Mass. who do not use public transportation, but should benefit from the money as well in order to repair roads or bridges.

Basically, this is a step in the right direction, but I doubt the MBTA will get all of the money it needs and we'll see a fare increase as a result. Blah.

2 comments:

Kyle said...

Did you hear the Radio Boston segment yesterday about the T? Click on the "Improving the T" recording, http://www.radioboston.org/

I call in and comment at 38:29. He didn't even respond to my comment.

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