Local officials push for gas tax instead of T service cuts

Somerville Patch: "Local Leaders React to MBTA's Proposed Cuts, Favor Upping Gas Tax" "Even the relatively big increases being proposed will not provide more than a one- or two-year fix," Jehlen said in an email to Patch Wednesday. "I, along with some of my colleagues, have been advocating for an increase in the gas tax as a reasonable and sustainable way to ensure financial solvency for the T. It is past time that we seriously address these long term funding issues. I will continue to advocate for an increase in the gas tax and more dedicated revenue to the T." Somerville Journal: "Sciortino: We can do better than current MBTA proposal" "Placing the burden entirely on the backs of T customers ignores the reality that our entire transportation system is woefully underfunded, and…

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Occupy the T gains momentum

The potential MBTA service cuts and fare increases would have a profound effect on Somerville, and it's great to see many groups speaking out and taking actions to express concern and outrage. One such group is Occupy the T. Check out their progress in this Boston Occupier article and their Facebook group. Also keep an eye on the Occupy Somerville site. MBTA officials seem to welcome this movement:

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Blue Ribbon Summit on transportation financing

With all the coverage of MBTA financing recently, we wanted to point out excellent material that came out of a summit at Northeastern University in 2010. There are some good ideas in here about T financing. For each of the most commonly discussed options, it includes the current Massachusetts policy, how it is used in other states, its advantages and disadvantages, and a financial analysis. The options are: Increasing the gasoline tax Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) Tax Increasing local funding for transit Parking fees and taxes Cross-subsidies for transit Leveraging private investment MBTA debt relief MBTA operational efficiencies Increasing fare revenue Read more about the effort or download the summary and framework reports.

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CLF editorial on MBTA financing

"The T Needs More Than Fare Increases" "T4MA objects to the MBTA's proposal because it attempts to solve a much larger problem of insufficient funding for public transportation exclusively on the back of transit riders, who are traveling in ways that reduce traffic and benefit the environment."

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Potential MBTA service cuts and fare increases could be brutal for Somerville


The MBTA, attempting to deal with painful deficits, announced plans to raise fares and cut services. Two scenarios are presented, both of which are ugly. Scenario 1 relies more on fare increases, while scenario 2 focuses on cuts to service, including the elimination of 6 important Somerville bus routes: 80, 85, 90, 92, 95, and 96.
Key links:

Somerville Patch: “Your Thoughts: Fare Hikes, Maybe Bus Eliminations Coming to Somerville”


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Transportation funding proposals from MassINC

"Moving Forward with Funding: New strategies to support transportation and balanced regional economic growth," from MassINC, proposes new funding mechanisms for transit (and possibly also roads and bridges) that aim to break the political logjam created by the belief that the rest of the state is unfairly being asked to pay for Boston's Big Dig and MBTA. By raising revenue within the same regions benefiting from transit, the authors suggest that there may be greater willingness to impose new taxes based on payroll and/or a VMT (vehicle miles traveled). These taxes could also provide additional funding for the RTAs in gateway cities such as Worcester and Lowell that currently receive only a small percentage of local sales tax.

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