Host of proposed transportation bills to be heard on Beacon Hill

While T officials have said The Ride is one of the biggest drains on funding, some politicians want to examine expanding the system.

Free ridership for military personnel, getting refunds for late Commuter Rail trains and extending the MBTA’s The Ride services are just a few of the proposed bills going before state officials on Beacon Hill today.

But with the T strapped for cash, transportation leaders said some of the filed legislation is unaffordable, as the MBTA tries to hack away at a $161 million deficit.

“I hope the hearing raises the awareness that folks want more service, but the T can’t afford what it runs today,” said MassDOT Secretary Rich Davey.

Davey said the desire to expand services is indicative of what transportation officials have been hearing from customers at recent public events regarding fare increases and service cutbacks.
“People want more service not less, and if we had money to offer new services we would in a heart beat,” said Davey.

One proposal scheduled to go before the Joint Committee on Transportation today at the State House would bring back late night services for T riders by reinstating the “Night Owl” program.

Backed by state Rep. Sean Garballey and former Sen. Steven Tolman, the bill suggests running major subway and bus routes Thursday through Sunday until 2:30 a.m.

But Davey said the chance of that “is zero,” and a top financial adviser for the T agreed.

“There is no way they are going to cut bus services commuters use every day and add late night service,” said Brian Kane, a budget analyst for the MBTA Advisory Board. “It’s just too expensive.”

The T piloted “Night Owl” in 2001, but axed it four years later due to budget cuts and low ridership.
Workers also conduct crucial maintenance on the tracks and trains between 1 and 5 a.m.

However, Davey didn’t wipe out the idea completely. “I know it’s something in the future if [the financial situation] improved we’d be interested in implementing,” he said.

Refunds for commuters?

What if you didn’t have to pay to ride the Commuter Rail because it was too hot or cold?

A bill going to Beacon Hill wants passengers sitting in any train car on the Commuter Rail that “fails to provide reasonable temperature regulation” to ride for free.

It would also “ensure fair treatment of Commuter Rail passengers” by not charging passengers for train rides that are 20 minutes late.

Commuter Rail officials would not comment on proposed legislation.

Future of MBTA?up for debate

A host of proposed bills will go before the Transportation Committee on Beacon Hill today, including:
   
Legislation to exempt certain seniors from paying to ride the MBTA
   
Eliminating fares for certain members of the armed forces and their dependents
   
Renaming the Copley and Science Park stations
   
To put fire extinguishers and safety kits on trains
   
To put a Commuter Rail stop in Allston-Brighton.
   
Extending The Ride services to other cities and towns.

Follow Steve Annear on Twitter @steveannear



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Mutant worms stay sober, even on alcohol

U.S. researchers have developed "mutant worms" that do not get drunk by alcohol, a breakthrough that could lead to new treatment for people trying to quit drinking

Local

K-9 nose helps capture $150K in cocaine at…

A furry, four-legged security agent helped authorities stop an illegal cocaine shipment from sneaking past JFK customs.

National

Minnesota man asked to leave Southwest flight after…

A man and his two sons were asked to leave a Southwest Airlines flight after the man sent a tweet complaining about being treated rudely by a gate agent.

National

Man sues hospital after surprise penis amputation

An Alabama man who went in to a hospital last month for a circumcision awoke after surgery to find his penis had been amputated, his lawyer said on Thursday.

Movies

Review: Brett Ratner's big 'Hercules' movie is small…

The latest "Hercules," starring Dwayne Johnson as the half-god beefcake of Greek myth, strips its hero and tale of most of its fantastical elements.

Arts

Scientists recreate world's smallest Monet copy

Scientists have reproduced a famous Impressionist painting using nano-printing, to create what has been described as the world's smallest work of art. Reworked at the…

Television

Jerry Seinfeld is ambidextrous, and other Reddit AMA…

See some of the weirder highlights of Jerry Seinfeld's recent Reddit AMA.

Going Out

Grab a pedestrian and start dancing at What…

As a New Yorker, I’ve mastered the art of focusing my gaze straight ahead. Though it occasionally piques my interest, the absurdities that play out…

U.S. Soccer

Orlando City takes shot at NYCFC over Frank…

Orlando City reminded the world how big a signing Brazilian star Kaka earlier this month with a photo of Kaka mobbed by fans juxtaposed against Lampard.

NBA

Jeremy Lin says 'Linsanity' is over as he…

Jeremy Lin lit up the NBA two years ago with his play for the Knicks but he has no desire to recreate "Linsanity" in his new career with the Lakers.

NFL

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player…

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player rankings

U.S. Soccer

NYCFC announce signing of Frank Lampard

The tease of a big signing Thursday by new MLS side NYCFC ended up being one rumored for weeks. England midfielder Frank Lampard agreed to…

Tech

Forget Wi-Fi: Li-Fi could be the future

Li-Fi technology – developed by Mexican company Sisoft – is wireless internet connectivity using specialized LED light.

Tech

Weather app Climendo might be the most accurate…

The wait for a truly accurate weather forecast could finally be over thanks to a nifty new app called Climendo.

Tech

Napkin Table puts focus off the phone and…

Michael Jan, a design student at Tunghai University in Taiwan, has invented a serviette-picnic blanket hybrid called the Napkin Table.

Style

Essie's new Color Boutique

Essie launches high-tech kiosks at major airports and malls across the country.