< .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

T(one) deaf

Mitt's minions are poised to do some serious damage to the state's transportation system in the dying days of this administration.

The MBTA, personified by Republican factotum Dan Grabauskas, has defied the will of the people -- not to mention Gov.-elect Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Tom Menino -- by jacking up bus, subway and commuter rail fares (but not service).

The second piece of the puzzle to push commuters back into their cars is the pending decision by the new (and not-so-improved) Turnpike Authority to eliminate tolls west of Route 128.

So the game plan is to hike tolls (for budget-balancing purposes) on commuters within Route 495, sending them into their cars for a (partially) free ride. The $114 million likely to be lost by eliminating tolls will be partially offset by firing toll takers. And it will be subsidized by commuters using the rail system. And by the increased take on the gasoline tax because more people will be on the road rather than the rails.

I've said before that Turnpike users are entitled to relief because they have been forced to foot the bill for the Big Dig -- a project they don't really benefit from. Neither do T riders.

The folks who benefit most from the Big Dig -- commuters from the north and south -- have not paid their fair fare throughout this process. The plans hatched by Mitt's minions assure that they will still get as free ride.

Sound logical to you? Didn't think so.


Blogger the wistah spy said...

Agreed on most points, but please do give Grabauskas some credit for increased service. The commuter rail has added several new round trips to the Lowell and Providence lines recently. If only they'd do the same for Worcester ....

November 09, 2006 9:38 PM  
Blogger Outraged Liberal said...

Glad there is some improvement, somewhere. But as a Green Line rider, service has been a joke and it's only going to get worse with the front door only policy.

November 10, 2006 5:27 AM  
Anonymous Cahmudah Rail Ridah said...

The simple economics of this fare increase will all but guarantee increased congestion and pollution in and around Boston.

After the fare increase, a trip out of zone 3 to Boston combined with the cost to park at a T station will be $15. With a good chunk of tolls going away and the cost to park in the Seaport/Waterfront about $9, I'm going to start driving in January. I imagine many others will, too.

Even factoring in the cost of gas and a dollar or two in tolls, it will be cheaper to drive and free myself from the rolling sewer that is the MBTA than pay the higher fares.

When the cost of driving is about the same as the cost of riding, I think many riders would rather sit in traffic than stand on a platform waiting for a train that's hopelessly delayed.

It's too bad the T can't get its act together. We are witnessing a system in the midst of its death throes.

November 11, 2006 8:31 AM  
Blogger Outraged Liberal said...

Thanks for proving my point. And the hassle of getting stuck in traffic can be matched (or beaten) by being crushed like a sardine in an overcrowded train or bus that jerk along and get stuck too. At least you're alone with your thoughts in a car and don't have a backpack stuck in your face. Thankfully I can walk to work and will do so with increasing frequency. Anything is better than the Green Line -- even 20 degrees and snow.

November 12, 2006 9:44 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home