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Massachusetts Liberal

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

Sunday, February 05, 2012

T is for Trouble

The Globe's Eric Moskowitz's buried the lead in his excellent analysis of how the MBTA found itself in its current fix, needing both fare hikes and service cuts to keep running.
The scary part is that this would be just a one-year budget fix.
Moskowitz offers one of the best explanations to date about the looming challenges the transit agency faces and how the mountain of debt that makes fixing those problems monumentally difficult. In a nutshell, no one saved for a rainy day and it is pouring buckets:
Principal and interest payments on the debt are scheduled to climb higher in the next few years. And then there is the matter of the billions in repair and replacement needs that keep getting postponed. The Red Line carries roughly as many people through Boston and Cambridge each day as Interstate 93, but it has a fleet built partly in the 1960s and a dated signal system that limits how often the T can run trains.
And he quietly notes the failure of leadership on the parts of several governors and/or legislators to address the issue head on.
... yet in the 21 years since the state last raised the gas tax, local Mass. Pike tolls have gone up just twice, while the T is poised for its fifth fare increase.
The MBTA is an integral part of a rational transportation system that includes roads, bridges, commuter rail and the water. The colossal management failure that was the Big Dig has infuriated commuters in all corners of the commonwealth and removed the spines of many elected officials who know the T's woes are part of a broader package that includes repairing crumbling bridges in cities and towns across the state.

Yet lawmakers have seem intent on limiting the solution to Turnpike commuters and T riders. And the problem that won't go away keeps getting bigger -- and harder to solve.

Corruption is not the only thing casting a shadow on Beacon Hill.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you've ever been to Vegas they have the answer. Little restaurants have 3-4 slots in their waiting rooms. Slots on the trains, win, win.

February 07, 2012 4:44 AM  

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