The Globe reports on comments Deval Patrick made this morning on WTKK.
Well, there it is. The MBTA is broken and there is no money to fix it. We can't fix the T until there is more money, and we won't ask for money until we fix the T.
What the hell kind of logic is that?
Unless there is a huge appropriation coming from the general fund (of the Commonwealth, or, gasp, one from the federal government), what the hell is going to happen now? Is the T just going to be allowed to wither on the vine? Is that the plan? To make it sooooo bad that people actually go into open revolt and beg for fares to be increased so we can at least be assured that the train will eventually come (late)?
Governor Patrick, if this is your plan, I beg you: please stay out of this and let the competent new transportation secretary (yes, that's right, the one you should have hired in the first place!!!) handle it.
T riders were promised better service when rates were hiked the last time. What we got were some small improvements here and there and some additional large headaches and Tfail as time went on.
You can't say "give us more money and we will fix it" when you already said that and didn't come through.
Fool me once, shame on you ... fool me twice ...
The only other possibility I see is to make drastic cuts, one of which will be telling the carmen's union to piss off the next time the cba comes up and that they will be paying 50% of the their insurance, etc. That will, of course, lead to a strike. But maybe that is the plan to concentrate minds? Does anyone have another proposal?
The lack of funding comes, in large part, from a flawed funding mechanism. No amount of raise fares will fix that, no amount of cuts in T salaries or benefits will close that gap permanently.
What needs to change is the way that MA funds, well, everything that needs regular and systematic attention to stay working. Get rid of this legislature decides year to year nonsense and initiate funding systems that allow for multi-year bonds to support infrastructure maintenance just like other states do.
What's it going to take - massive collapse of a bridge or other system? MA is stuck in the 1600s here, when "infrastructure maintenance" meant that every man of a certain age had to go out and work a couple of weeks a year. Until the antiquated systems of (not) funding maintenance are revised, this will continue to happen to just about any infrastructure.
Gas tax baby. They're just laying the groundwork...
Okay, fine, I will say it again. The quickest way to get some funds to the T would be to legislate a progressive surcharge on each real estate conveyance in T's service area and earmark it for the T. The state already has a mechanism for this (it would work in manner similar to the community preservation act funds that are raised this way), so it should include little or no additional overhead. If they still can't figure it out, they can talk to someone at the MTA because it already does this. The surcharge is also a reasonable approach because there is a positive correlation between real estate values and the availability of public transit in the area (certainly that connection is stronger than the one, if any, between the sales tax and public transit).
And yes, Swirly, I am concerned that a catastrophic accident is exactly what it will take to get people off their asses.
Sorry, I don't speak lawyer talk
buying and selling of real estate.
Let them strike.
Five days of no service will be enough. And then the Governor should go President Reagan on them, and threaten to fire them all.
I bet some lawyer could figure out a way to connect MBTA employees to federal dollars received by the T. Or, at least tie it up in the courts enough to that an equitable contract could be negotiated.
I'm pretty sure a strike would backfire on the union. A couple years back when the MBCR conductors did a work to rules action, the passengers were pretty angry. On more than a few occasions fights almost broke out between MBCR staff and passengers on some of the trains I ride. A strike will make the riders angry at the union, and only serve to focus the idea that it is the union causing the problems generally, even though that is really just one of the many issues.
This is Massachusetts. The unions have pretty much all of the politicians and the state and local level bought and paid for. The unions say jump and the Mass pols ask how high. You'll see higher taxes faster than you'll see these pols tell the unions to take a hike.
the Carmen are some of the most overpaid, over-benefitted "workers" in all the land. I say let them strike, and then fire them all when they do.
Pretty soon, they won't have to strike. The system will simply crumble beneath them.
First steps toward union concessions?
I'm pro union, but anti-Carmen's Union. Pay, Retirement benefits, and other issues need to be brought up at the same time the commonwealth needs to get serious about funding.
The state shouldn't be sending them scraps, and there's no reason for a GED candidate to make $70K driving a trolley or bus and be able to retire at 55.
Back when Deval was running on smoke, mirrors, and misdirection,
that the defining issue of his administration would have been
And that he would rise to the challenge by responding to the
issue by James Aloe-weaselling us, and blasting Grabauskas out
of the T.
I wish Mary Connaughton was running against Cadillac Deval this
time around. It would be nice to have an adult with actual
transportation experience making these kind of decisions.
You want to turn your ENTIRE administration around? Then here's where you can do it:
UNDO THE SALES TAX FUNDING OF THE MBTA!
It was the dumbest legislative decision in recent MA history. It was based on BEYOND-pie-in-the-sky projections for sales growth and never should have even been suggested that the MBTA assume debt related to the Big Dig (let alone its own necessary debts)! Put it back on the state's books and raise the gas tax to pay for it. A higher gas tax means more fares means more money from BOTH sides of the equation. Beg your buddy in Washington to help you out...NOT with $300/plate fundraisers for your re-election bid, but for $300/rider stimulus funds to revamp the MBTA!
This goes WAY beyond "the Carmen's Union", people. This is *billions* of dollars in unfunded projects *just* to get the system in "good working order"!
No wonder Kenmore is taking forever (is it even done *yet*?)...they've probably been doing $20 worth of work every third day...
SwirrlyGrl is dead on above. Good for the Governor. He's doing the right thing here. Now I wish the powers-that-be in the Legislature would seriously tackle this issue.
The quickest and best way to get money for the T is certainly not another tax on real estate transactions. It's a tax on gasoline.
Our gas prices are an outrage. There's no excuse for not slapping a hefty tax on gasoline. And if nobody has the courage to do that then put a tax on it that increases over time - 25 cents this year, 50 cents next year, etc. Until the SUVs are off the road and people start thinking about walking, taking the T, carpooling, etc as a matter of course gas is too cheap.