Somerville mayor: You have got to be kidding me

Joe Curtatone is not the least bit thrilled at the news that end date for the Green Line extension through Somerville has become asymptotic:

A four-year delay of the Green Line Extension bereft of any tangible commitments from the Commonwealth is simply unacceptable. Somerville deserves a transparent, accurate timeline for the Green Line Extension, with clear deliverables. Fundamental matters of social justice, economic justice and environmental justice are at stake in this project. Governor Patrick promised to extend rail transit to the most densely populated community in New England and he needs to break ground while he is still Governor. The State must do better than declare it is going to miss the legally mandated 2014 deadline for the extension with vague promises that it is still "behind" the project.

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Response to dim comment

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For the residents and businesses along a highly neglected bus-only corridor that is one of the most densely populated places in the US it does.

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then pay for it

Then it sounds like the Mayor of Somerville could justify a surcharge on the property taxes for his businesses and residents to pay for the extension.
I'm asking if the Green Line makes money vs the bus lines.

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IIRC

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The Green Line does far better than almost every bus on a cost and profit basis.

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Higher fares for new Green Line

Thank you.
Those who want to expand the T must realize that it is losing money and cutting service everywhere else. If they want expanded service then somehow they have to be able to sell it to all the people on the system who will pay for it with higher fares.
I see the basic issue for the T as how to make money on each rider rather than lose money on each rider.

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The basic issue

The T needs a system of funding that is adequate to complete all the projects it needs to for the higher public good (meaning efficient transportation that doesn't cause collateral damage to lungs and climate).

If the T must make profit on each rider, then we should similarly mandate that roadways must make a profit on each driver. The complete cost of maintaining the highway and roadway systems should thus be funded by a per-mile tax on every vehicle in the commonwealth.

Somehow, despite using similar logic as your "make money on passengers" absurdity, I suspect you would be the first to complain about a $0.25 or even $0.50 per mile road use surcharge.

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Huh?

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Why would a public agency need to turn a profit from its users? Do you think firefighters should charge homeowners a bill for putting out their fires? Should trash collectors directly charge only the homes that put out garbage that week? Should the Commons have an entrance fee?

Last I checked, fares only make up about a third of the MBTA's revenue stream. The rest is currently coming from sales tax revenue. It seems a few cents here and there in taxes from the whole state would generate enough revenue to make it a fully free system in its current state. Of course, I'd rather keep the fare, but use the extra money to improve and upgrade the system from its current state instead.

There are whole cities that have made their transit system fare-free. That should be the goal, not the other way around. What's the point in that?

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Your examples

It's interesting that every example you cited has a history of a close relationship to cost and benefit, including the Common, which for part of its life did have an entry fee.

I don't know why it's such a problem for you to accept that some consideration be paid to where the money is going, except that you would rather just yell at the state for not paying for inefficient transportation most of its residents will never use. Do you find yourself yelling at the screen a lot?

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T cutting service?

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What service has the T cut?

They've had the same total number of vehicle-hours for decades. Unless you count increases like the new Silver Line tunnel, and commuter rail extensions.

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Fine then

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Finance your own roads then. The full cost - and not with my tax money.

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Do roads make money?

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I didn't think so.

Your argument is extremely unsound.

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Making money isn't the reason

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Making money isn't the reason why we build mass transit lines.

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10-20 Years...

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I've only lived here 3 years, but I've come to the conclusion that it takes 10-20 years to build anything in greater Boston.

I'm looking forward to the Green Line Extension and IKEA - two things I've been hearing about since before I moved here - about the time I could retire (which will never happen because this country is in the fast lane towards its destination as a Third World nation. But that's a different argument).

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Justice, Justice, Justice

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I agree that the extension should be done, but can we please get a moratorium on politicians using virtue words, such as "justice", in conjunction with feel-good triple-bottom-line buzzwords such as "social", "environmental", and "economic"? No matter how much someone may want what they envision those things to be, it has become extremely tiresome.

I'm only asking for linguistic justice.

Suldog
http://jimsuldog.blogspot.com

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Very Specific Meaning Here

{wonk}The Green Line Extension corridor is almost entirely lined with Environmental Justice Communities, as designated by the EPA for their historic and current issues with environmental degradation and demographic make up (lower income).

One reason this line was court-ordered and a high priority is that Somerville sees heavy diesel exhaust and traffic impacts that are not made any better by the extensive busing and congestion from cars because it is a transit desert. The green line extension remediates these impacts to the surrounding Environmental Justice communities.

{/wonk}

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Obvious solution

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We should work with the federal government to bury the highway in Somerville so the environmental impact is mitigated by better air cleansing apparatuses. This would take a lot of digging...one could say it would be one big dig to accomplish it all, but in the end we could solve the dilemma and maybe even extend/improve the MBTA through that corridor at the same time with some of the money. Hell, in order to balance the cost overruns (and trust me, there's always cost overruns), I bet we could even claim that the MBTA needs to help pay for the cost of the whole thing even though the whole point was to hide the highway!

What do you figure? This would only be about a 15 year project, tops, right? That's as fast as the current MBTA planned extension at this point! Let's get cracking!

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+1

Yep.

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I Heart Joe

Is Joe Curtatone the best Mayor in Massachusetts? He may well be. This is a guy who genuinely cares about these issues and who has a great vision for improving his city.

Thankfully, if there is anyone who can harangue and shame the Governor, MBTA and the State into getting this project back onto its LEGALLY BINDING schedule, its Joe. Go get em Joe.

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Joe Curtatone

On the other hand, if he was that great, maybe he could have convinced someone to get this thing done.

In the end, Politics is Politics.

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