Transportation News

Transportation News
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Study shows state transit in financial crisis

Boston Globe: “Transit and roads face huge shortfall”
The Transportation Finance Commission study shows a shortfall of nearly $20 billion over the next 20 years just for necessary maintenance and repairs, even without new projects.
From the study: “The Commonwealth has committed to design the Blue Line/Red Line Connector and to construct the Green Line to Somerville project as part of the Central Artery mitigation program. No commitments have been made to actually construct these projects, and there is no finance plan for them. And even if these projects were to be built, the MBTA could not afford the additional operating expenses.”
The potential good news: The study includes no expansions or enhancements (using state funds) other than $750 million of Boston Region Transit Projects included in the State Implementation Plan. The “Green Line Extension to Medford” is $610 million of the $750. The rest of the $15 to $19 billion 20-year funding gap comes entirely from “state of good repair” needs and operating deficits. There is a loophole, however. The Silverline Phase III, $1 billion in 2006 dollars and the City of Boston’s favorite project, is assumed to be built with Federal funds.
Download the study (PDF)

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Green Line, Transportation News
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Urban Ring options being studied

Urban Ring

The Citizens Advisory Committee continues to study possible options for the Urban Ring, and new maps have been posted for consideration. Somerville is best served by the first option (click below to view all the options), which links to the future Green Line. Other options eliminate all of Somerville except a stop at Assembly Square on the way to Lechmere, and a new loop to Harvard Square via Harvard’s new Alston campus. The choices will mostly be made between now and May, so get involved by coming to the public meeting April 10!

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Green Line, Transportation News
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Draft of Regional Transportation Plan (RTP): Journey to 2030

This long-range plan is the Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization’s (MPO) proposed program of planned highway and public transit improvements for the region through 2030. The Green Line extensions are in here, but the status is a little vague because the new State Implementation Plan (SIP) regulations haven’t yet been approved by the Federal EPA.
To keep the Green Line extensions on track, please send comments about this plan before March 27. Comments may be submitted to the attention of Transportation Secretary Bernard Cohen, MPO Chairman, by U.S. mail to 10 Park Plaza, Suite 2150, Boston, MA, 02116-3968, by fax to (617) 973-8855, or by email to publicinformation@bostonmpo.org.
Read the Draft Regional Transportation Plan

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Transportation News
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Boston Globe: Debt relief for the T?

“Group seeks debt relief for the T”
A coalition of lawmakers and public interest groups plans to file legislation tomorrow requiring the state to take over a portion of the MBTA’s debt, allowing the transit agency to become less dependent on fare increases and to spend more on maintaining the rail and bus system and improving service.

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Transportation News
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Provost pitches bills on health impacts of pollution

From the State House News Service…
Somerville Rep Pitches Two Bills to Address Health Impacts of Air Pollution
By Priscilla Yeon
A legislator concerned with the harm caused by pollution near high-traffic roadways plans to file two bills she hopes will reduce pollution-related pulmonary and cardiac diseases.
Rep. Denise Provost (D-Somerville) said it’s time for the Legislature to address the health concerns of people who live near roadways and buildings sitting near high-traffic areas.

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Transportation News
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Boston Globe Editorial: Gas tax to pay for transit

“Gas-tax timidity”
“The 21-cent gasoline excise tax has not been increased since 1991, and inflation has cut its value by a third. It remains the tax of choice for transportation improvements because it targets users of a product that the state would like to see conserved, to limit wear on the roads, improve the environment, and reduce dependence on foreign producers.”

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Transportation News
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Boston Globe: Lack of funding for roads and transit

“Analyst warns of cash shortfall for Mass. roads”
“We are seriously disinvesting in our transportation infrastructure at really an alarming rate.” – Michael J. Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation

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Transportation News
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Report on diversity and transit-oriented neighborhoods

“Preserving and Promoting Diverse Transit-Oriented Neighborhoods” is collaboration of the Center for Neighborhood Technology, Reconnecting America, and Strategic Economics.
Download the report (PDF)

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Green Line, Orange Line, Transportation News
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Boston MPO updates transportation plans

The revised 2007–2010 Transportation Improvement Program and Air Quality Conformity Determination (TIP) has been endorsed by the Boston MPO and still awaits federal approval. The Green Line extension is in the TIP as a recommended medium-priority project, but awaits action by the DEP on the revised SIP commitments. Also in the TIP is a large $25 million earmark for an Orange Line stop at Assembly Square, with the first $5 million (for planning and engineering) moved into FY 2007. (These funds will not be “real” until the State and Federal government agree that the project makes sense.) The TIP also provides funds for the design of a relocated Lechmere station.
Download the TIP.

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Transportation News
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World Carfree Day is September 22

Join the annual celebration of alternatives to the automobile. For more information, visit World Carfree Network. Also check out the AltWheels Transportation Festival on September 22-23 on Boston City Hall Plaza.

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