Public meetings begin on plans to decimate bus, commuter rail, ferry and Green Line service

The MBTA starts a series of public meetings on Tuesday to let the public vent helplessly pipe up about plans to cut a number of bus lines, all ferry service, weekend and post-10 p.m. commuter rail service and the E line on weekends.

The T says it also wants to hear from commuters on its plans to raise fares by at least 35% to help make up a $160 million projected shortfall in the fiscal year that begins July 1.

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It is probably as important

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It is probably as important or more important for concerned riders to contact their state rep and state senators as well as letting the MBTA know what they think.

more important.

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the legislature is the only place "forward funding" and the unfair debt burden can be fixed.

Too bad the legislature is

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Too bad the legislature is more concerned about building a new patronage empire for themselves, with the anticipated casino revenue, than fixing infrastructural problems that affect the lives of us mere peasants.

Definitely more important

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At the recent T board meeting, it was made clear that this round of service cuts and hikes does not address anything beyond this year and next year's budget gaps.

So if you want the T to be on better financial footing going forward past 2013, you should contact your legislators.

What happened to the money

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What happened to the money from the 5% -> 6.25% sales tax increase in 2009? That was supposed to solve the T's budget problem in 2010.

Well, it helped the T limp

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Well, it helped the T limp along through FY11 and sorta through FY12. The budget deficits, however, have grown (and will continue to do so until about FY16 or 17 due to peaking debt payments) to the point where the ~$160,000,000 yearly appropriation (which the sale tax increase funds) just softens the blow. In short, that money just keeps the deficits in the rather large range instead of the wicked large.

revenue projections

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Keep in mind the plan to save the MBTA was drafted up back before the crash when everyone assumed that the economy would continue to go up without any sort of ceiling. People will just keep spending, so the sales tax will continue to bring in big bucks for the T. The economy tanked and with it went the T's revenue. On a similar wavelength, they decoupled the gas tax from inflation, so it has actually gone down (in its purchasing power) since the last time it was raised in 1991. (Had it been tied to inflation it would have slowly inched up far less than the price swings that we typically see in any given summer or between gas vendors - and our transportation system might be solvent - or maybe a bunch of toll takers would have had great homes in Sudbury - take yer pick ya cynical bastids.)

These little legislative engineering failures are why so much of our infrastructure is crapping out on us.

The reason our infrastructure

The reason our infrastructure is crapping out on us is that the Legislature has always favored patronage and entitlement programs over every day maintenance. If we went back to 1970, zero'd out all 'new spending,' and put the resulting saving into infrastructure, we'd have safe bridges and dams. But bridges and dams don't vote.

What about the employees?

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There is no way anyone who works at the T should be making anything mildly above minimum wage. What type of intelligence does it take to drive a bus or a train, punch a ticket, or turn a wrench to fis these machines (assuming they actually feel like working hard enough to fix something)?

Laborers and non-college educated workers are where they are in life because they simply don't deserve to be anywhere else. If they were meant for success and a decent income, they'd have gone to college and bettered themselves. Instead, they're at the bottom of the rung where they belong, and should be grateful that they've been given jobs at all. Don't punish the rest of us because the T overpays for their idiotic workforce.

God forbid anyone in this country

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gets a decent wage! This is the problem, people like you saying well he didn't go to college and drives a BUS and he gets paid more. Wahhh. You go drive a bus or fix a train.

Outraged Rider, I am going to

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Outraged Rider, I am going to assume you are being laughably over the top and satirical. Modern trains and buses are rather complex machines. There are - gasp! - actually a far cry from the simple wooden boxes on wheels of yesteryear. To properly maintain them you need technical training (i.e. knowing how to read specs, basics of how the various systems work, et cetera). You can't just go down to Skid Row and ask some bums, "Hey, how many of you guys know how to fix a solid-state rectifier? Great, you all are hired!" ITT Tech and other vocational programs may not be as glamourous as Harvard and MIT, but you mustn't discount them as offering an inferior grade of education. If you received specialized training in a particular skill(s), you should be compensated accordingly. Not $100/hr, but certainly not for $8.50/hr.

As for operating the vehicles themselves, that too requires training and skill. If driving a bus or train is so easy, then why don't they just hire sixth-graders to be operators. Or trained seals? After all, you just push a button and it magically goes, right?

That said, if there are employees who could care less about doing their jobs then find them and fire them. Plain and simple. Same goes for any of their superiors who allow it to happen under their watch. They (and anyone else for that matter) must do work to earn their wage/salary. But don't go assuming that mechanics and operators (or service sector workers either) are just mindless dolts who can hardly write their name and are content with their station in life. Hell, what's next? Would you go on to suggest that we just round up all of these folks who "consciously failed to better themselves" and run them off a cliff? That would make the rest of our lives so much better and simpler, I'm sure.

I will make the argument on how and why higher education is not something readily attainable for all people at another time.

P.S.

By the way, one of the principal causes of the MBTA's chronic deficits (which of course, leads to fare increases/service cuts) is spiking debt payments. They will continue to spike until at least FY16. Over the past twelve years the annual debt service payments have amounted to approximately 30-40% of the MBTA budget. If you want to go after some greedy, lecherous folks who just sit around waiting for the moolah to roll in, then might I suggest you grab your pitchfork and torch and go after the banks holding the debt first?

troll much?

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I'm assuming you're trolling and aren't actually as brainstem-driven as the comment reads.

If in fact you truly believe what you wrote, please follow Bill Hicks' advice to marketers and advertizing folks, thanks.