Transportation News

Transportation News
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Public transportation essential during emergencies

Published in the LivableStreets e-bulletin
By Jeffrey Rosenblum and Chella Rajan
Amidst this week’s finger-pointing barrage, following Milena Del Valle’s tragic death in the Big Dig, one agency stepped up efforts to maintain normalcy in Boston and the region: the MBTA.
Tuesday, as state and federal inspectors began investigating the cause of the collapse of 12 tons of roof slabs in the Ted Williams tunnel, travelers had to use alternate routes to Logan Airport. With the motorists’ two-tunnel option to Logan now cut in half, many travelers clogged the Callahan tunnel, formerly the primary route to Logan Airport, causing massive traffic backups.
Meanwhile, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority increased service levels to rush-hour frequency on both the Orange and Blue Lines, and secured special access for Silver Line buses through the stricken Ted Williams tunnel.

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Transportation News
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Boston transit recommendations from Urban Land Institute Boston District Council

On the Right Track

This task force, associated with The Center for Urban and Regional Policy at Northeastern University, made a variety of recommendations on transit-supportive growth, the financial stability of the MBTA, and strategic investment and expansion.
PowerPoint presentation (1.1 MB PPT)
Full report (1.4 MB PDF)

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Transportation News
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T riders are paying more than their fair share

Obviously there is large concern regarding the impacts of the planned MBTA fare increases. Consumers who may be understandably upset about the hikes need to take into account that the MBTA is severely constrained fiscally by its huge capital debts and sizable operating deficits. Therefore, concerns should probably be raised with your state representatives first and the MBTA second.
While it is true that public transit does not break even (with the exception of some urban bus routes), and that commuter rail especially represents a handful of subsidy dollars per trip, it is also true that no form of surface transportation in Massachusetts comes close to the subsidy levels supplied to those who drive over Boston’s newly reconstructed Big Dig roadways.
With an annualized cost per year of about $1.5 billion ($15 plus billion/10) and with roughly 75 million vehicle trips per year, the Big Dig is providing $15 to $20 of subsidy per vehicle trip. Those who use Boston’s Big Dig pay only a tiny fraction of the project costs with their gas taxes. It is a shame that the MBTA fare hikes will not be accompanied by new road financing mechanisms.

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Transportation News
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MBTA raising fares

Starting in January, subway and trolley fares would increase from $1.25 to $1.70, and bus fares would go from 90 cents to $1.25. Riders who don’t use new automated fare CharlieCards would pay even higher fares. The good news is that there will finally be free transfers systemwide.
Boston Globe: “MBTA seeks sharp fare hikes”
Boston Herald: “T takes ’em for a ride: Subway could cost $2.25!”

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Green Line, Transportation News
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Boston Globe: Transportation report delayed

“Transportation report delayed till after Nov. election”
The Transportation Finance Commission won’t release its much-anticipated blueprint for transportation in Massachusetts until the end of the year. The commission will likely conclude that the State cannot continue to adequately pay for its highways, mass transit systems, bridges, and other transportation infrastructure without a significant infusion of new money.

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Transportation News
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Public review of Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP) Amendments

The Boston MPO has issued Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP) Amendments for fiscal years 2006 and 2007, and is accepting public comments. Keep reading for more details.

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Transportation News
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Study on housing affordability and transit

The Affordability Index: A New Tool for Measuring the True Affordability of a Housing Choice
This report from The Brookings Institution describes a new information tool developed by the Urban Markets Initiative to quantify, for the first time, the impact of transportation costs on the affordability of housing choices.

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Transportation News
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Public comments needed to keep Green Line on track

Since the announcement by the state that the Green Line would be extended through Somerville there has not been significant public discussion of major transportation concerns for Somerville residents. However, there are now some important comments you can make that will affect transportation and environmental justice policies for Somerville residents.

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Transportation News
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Making Places newsletter: Streets are people places

Check out this online newsletter from the Project for Public Spaces. Topics include transportation and community, making streets people-friendly, and what’s working in places from New Jersey to Paris.
June 2005 issue

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Transportation News
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Boston MPO publishes air quality conformity report

How is our region doing? Read the draft of the “Transportation Plan 2004-2025 and 2005-2009 Transportation Improvement Program Air Quality Conformity Re-Determination” (PDF). You can send comment letters.

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