October 20, 2008
In this time of financial uncertainty, lower income communities of color are more reliant on public transportation than ever before. As private vehicles and fuel costs can be prohibitively expensive, many of us depend on the MBTA to get to work and buy groceries for our families. With three fare increases over the past six years, transportation is now the second highest cost for Boston residents, exceeded only by housing. Bostonians cannot afford to pay more for substandard public transit especially with winter heating costs still ahead.
However dire the economic situation, fare hikes and service cuts remain a constant threat in our communities. The MBTA has been swimming in debt with over $8 billion and counting. $1.8 billion is from Big Dig projects required by the state government, yet the state has not accepted any responsibility for this cost. Fare hikes force riders to bear the burden of debt payments that include projects benefiting car owners. Governor Deval Patrick stated his opposition to fare increases in 2007 but did nothing to alleviate MBTA debt. Without the attention of legislators, riders' budgets will be increasingly strained by the already struggling T.
On the Move (OTM): The Greater Boston Transportation Justice Coalition works to ensure service to communities that need public transit the most. If service continues to be cut, it will only dig families into a deeper financial hole. OTM wants state legislators to sponsor a bill requiring the state government to take back the T's Big Dig debt.
To learn more about this campaign and voice your thoughts about the public transportation system, drop by On the Move's public forum, this Wednesday at the Boston Public Library, Copley Square Branch from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. This town meeting will share how to get involved and how to grab the attention of our Governor and state legislators. For more information, contact Bob at (617) 480-3685.