BOSTON, MA – At a State House Committee on Ways and Means Hearing on Friday, the Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group (MASSPIRG), along with Transportation for Massachusetts, called on the Committee to increase investment to $88 million in the state’s regional transit authorities (RTAs) in the 2019 state budget.
The RTAs provide fixed route bus and paratransit service throughout the Commonwealth. In his budget proposal, Governor Baker has allocated $80.4 million for the RTAs. Having received $80.4 million in the 2018 budget, several RTAs, including the two largest (PVTA and WRTA) have proposed service cuts and fare hikes.
“RTAs provide essential and needed transportation services to citizens of all ages outside the Metro-Boston area in a cost effective manner,” said Matt Casale, a staff attorney with MASSPIRG. “Riders rely on the RTAs to get to work, school, medical appointments and municipalities rely on them to maintain and spur economic activity. MBTA riders deserve service they can rely upon, so too do all the other residents of the Commonwealth living in diverse RTA communities.”
In 2014, the legislature passed a Transportation Finance Law that envisioned regular and incremental increases to RTA funding. Those increases have not happened. Allocating $88 million for RTAs in the 2019 budget would return the state to the funding schedule envisioned by the law.
“We need to change the way we think about the RTAs,” added Casale. “Instead of just funding them, let’s invest in them. Let’s reverse the trend of service cuts and fare hikes. The people of Massachusetts, all the people of Massachusetts, deserve a better transportation system. It’s time to give it to them.”
MASSPIRG is a non-profit, non-partisan public interest advocacy organization that stands up to powerful interests whenever they threaten our health and safety, our financial security, or our right to fully participate in our democratic society. On the web at www.masspirg.org.