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Massachusetts Liberal

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

Friday, June 05, 2009

Shot across the bow

A 20 percent fare hike? Seems only natural since I think I'm spending 20 percent more time on the Green Line as it creeps its way up and down Commonwealth Avenue.

But there's a whiff of political gamesmanship in Transportation Secretary James Aloisi's pronouncement that MBTA fares will rise 15-20 percent in the fall as a result of the Legislature's failure to pass a gas tax or provide what he views as sufficient funds to get the T through the next few years.
"We need to have a multiyear solution," said Aloisi, who is also chairman of the MBTA board. He said he wants to raise enough money to avoid another fare increase for a "minimum of two, hopefully three fiscal years."
And House Transportation Committee Chairman Joseph Wagner is pushing right back:
"It is unreasonable to think that there wouldn't be adjustments in fares periodically."
Wagner, a Chicopee Democrat, also seems unmoved by the sturm und drang over higher Mass. Pike tolls. How doe he get to work? Helicopter?

The timing of the announcement -- along with the suggestion that service cuts may nor may not accompany a fare hike -- has all the feel of a political power play.

That's totally unfair to the millions of people who depend on inconsistent service to get to one, two or more jobs -- and who are being asked to pony up more on the sales tax.

Make an equitable decision and spare us the public histrionics. I agree with Stacey Jones-Walker of Dorchester.
"It's getting out of hand. It's crazy."

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