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Massachusetts Liberal

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

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Taking it to the House

The hundreds of people who rallied on the Statehouse steps angry over proposed MBTA fare hikes and service cuts knew exactly what they were doing.

Protests by MBTA officials notwithstanding, the Legislature is going to have to step in with another bailout of a transit agency onto which they dumped a portion of the Big Dig debt.

The outpouring of people -- and the stories they tell -- has been dramatic given that public hearings usually generate more dust bunnies than speakers. Last week's hearing in Newton no doubt saved bus Route 52 from elimination.

With the Legislature stirring from its midwinter nap, T Riders Union member Lee Matsueda spelled it out clearly:
It was easy for [state lawmakers] to drop the Big Dig debt on the backs of the T and its riders, so they really need to consider how important of a service this is for our region and for the state as a whole,’’ Matsueda said before leading the group in a march to the hearing.
The Draconian combination of higher fares and service cuts has never seemed sustainable. The state's fiscal situation -- and resistance from those who don't benefit from the T to prop it up -- complicate the task.

But only the Legislature can fix the problem it created in the first place -- and that includes asking for help from people who benefit from the roads and bridges and turnpike subsidized by T riders.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I live in Charlton, don't use the MBTA (there are no buses), don't use the Big Dig (I fly from Worcester or Providence), and seldom even use the Pike. Why should I bail you out with my tax money? Central Mass has already suffered enough supplying Boston with it's needs (Quabbin and Wachusett resevoirs). If you use it you pay for it, or add some bus service for us out in the boonies.

January 24, 2012 9:04 AM  

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