MBTA Advisory Board offers outside aid, surcharges as alternative to drastic T cuts

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Members of the MBTA Advisory Board have cooked up a solution to the T’s
looming debt that would put the burden of closing the $161 million
budget gap on the shoulders of the whole state, rather than just the
riders.

In a 24-page report, the board outlined a proposal that could generate $91.6 million in new revenue and find an additional $79 million in savings through transportation reform, without cutting MBTA services.

The proposal also only calls for a 25 percent fare increase, which is lower than the T’s proposed fare increases.

“The public is demanding a new alternative and no one has put one out there yet,” said Brian Kane, budget and policy analyst for the advisory board.

According to the report, by shifting the cost of the MBTA Transit Police Department to the state while handing over ferry services and selling waterfront assets to Massport, the T could save millions.

Universities and public venues that benefit from the T would also be asked to chip in some cash, while concert and sporting event attendees would get slapped with a 50 cents surcharge on tickets to go toward the transit authority.

The report also calls for students to pay a $10 annual student ID fee to help maintain critical services.
While they admit it’s not perfect, Kane said the board’s plan is a feasible solution to close the gap by the T’s deadline in the spring.

MBTA?GM says officials mulling it over

According to the board, “[the proposal] provides a window of opportunity for the Patrick-Murray administration to lead us out of this mess.”

MBTA officials said they received the report yesterday and are in the process of reviewing it. Acting General Manager Jon Davis said he’ll meet with the Advisory Board’s executive director in the next few weeks. He called it a “thoughtful approach,” but said it is too early to tell what could be implemented. 

Alternative options

The report highlights the following ideas:
   
Avoid proposed service cuts.
Add a 50 cents surcharge on tickets to sporting events and theaters to go toward the T.
Reinstate alcohol advertisements on T vehicles.
Ask institutions/colleges that benefit from the T to “put money on the table.”
No MBTA pay raises for any employees in fiscal 2013.
Increase parking costs by 25 percent at select stations.


Advisory Board Plan



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