As the House Ways and Means Committee continues to review Governor Baker's proposed legislation to reform and improve the MBTA (House Bill 3613, An Act for a Reliable, Sustainable Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority), MassCommute has submitted the following letter in support of a final bill that maintains the fare caps currently in place and the millions in funding for the struggling yet vital transit agency through the 2013 Transportation Finance Act:
June 30th, 2015
Representative Brian Dempsey
Chair, House Committee on Ways and Means
Massachusetts State House
Boston, MA 02133
Dear Chairman Dempsey and Members of the Committee:
On behalf of the twelve Transportation Management Associations (TMAs) comprising MassCommute, I am pleased to provide our feedback regarding the latest draft of House Bill 3613, An Act for a Reliable, Sustainable Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority.
As a coalition of public-private partnerships working with over 300 employers in 40 municipalities across eastern Massachusetts, we recognize the tremendous value that our public transit system provides in fueling and securing our region’s economy and we commend the Governor for focusing his attention to the issues that have plagued the MBTA. We are also grateful to the Chairs of the Joint Committee on Transportation for their continued hard work on this legislation.
MassCommute has supported and will continue to support reforms in this legislation that improve the safety, effectiveness and efficiency of our transportation system while delivering maximum value to the taxpayer, commuters, and the business community. As the House Ways and Means Committee continues to review this bill, we would like to express our support for two key elements:
- Fares: We appreciate that this legislation maintains current fare policy at the MBTA. Maintaining a fare cap will ensure that the T raises fares regularly, modestly, and predictably without burdening the hundreds of thousands of households in Greater Boston that do not own or have access to a car.
- Transportation Finance: We strongly support Section 7, which allows for yearly carry-over of surplus funds, and Section 25 of this bill, both of which will ensure sustainable funding for the MBTA. The $581 million in funding generated in the Transportation Finance Act of 2013 is essential to the system and must be preserved. We strong recommend that the Commonwealth continue providing the state assistance at these levels without constraints. Section 25 asks the Baker administration to estimate the current financial gap facing the statewide transportation system and to recommend specific and quantified recommendations to address deficiencies in the system’s state of good repair and capacity. Please consider maintaining these pieces in the final legislation.
To continue to attract and retain world-class businesses and the workers that they need to thrive and survive, we need to invest in a world-class transportation network. This legislation is a step in the right direction and we appreciate your consideration of our comments.
Julia Prange Wallerce, Executive Director