Could MBTA service cuts kill you?

Could less T service and higher fares lead to 15 more deaths per year in the Bay State? Researchers seem to think so.

Could more people die in Massachusetts if the MBTA goes through with some of its proposed service cuts?

According to a new report, yes.

A study released Tuesday by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council suggests that close to 15 extra people in the Bay State would die each year if the T spikes fares and slashes trains and buses.

The study, researched with professionals from the Harvard School of Public Health and the Boston University School of Public Health, also claims that the changes would contribute to the area’s obesity epidemic while increasing harmful emissions

The T pitched two scenarios in an effort to close a $161 million budget gap and
held 30 public hearings to get rider feedback on ways to fix the transit system.

Here are some key findings, according to the report:

*The total annual health costs of the proposed MBTA cuts total $272.1 million under Scenario 1 and $386.9 million under Scenario 2 – more than the T’s $161 million deficit.

*The cost of additional car crashes, including those with bicycles and pedestrians, totals $33.6 million under Scenario 1 and $48.8 million in Scenario 2.

*Scenario 1 would result in 10 avoidable deaths per year (15 for Scenario 2).

*About 30,000 people would shift from transit use to driving (49,000 for Scenario 2), resulting in more than 70 (120) new cases of obesity per year.

*Increased congestion would lead to an uptick in CO2 emissions of over 58,000 metric tons per year – the equivalent of nearly 135,000 barrels of oil – or over 52,000 additional metric tons under Scenario 2.

*At least 550 transit-dependent households would be isolated from basic health care resources under Scenario 1, or 2,200 households in Scenario 2.


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