MBTA proposes raising fares 33 percent, making cuts to close $120 million budget gap

MBTA facing a $120 million budget gap in fiscal year 2014. PHOTO CREDIT: NICOLAUS CZARNECKI/METRO
MBTA facing a $120 million budget gap in fiscal year 2014. PHOTO CREDIT: NICOLAUS CZARNECKI/METRO

Transit officials said at a finance meeting today that fare-only budget solutions at the MBTA would require T riders to pay 33 percent more for service.

Additional fare increases and service reductions will be required at the MBTA unless state legislators approve additional funding for the MBTA, transit officials said today.

In July 2012, the MBTA hiked up fares and accepted a state bailout, but today T officials said they are still facing a $120 million gap in the budget year that starts July 1.

MBTA Chief Financial Officer Jonathan Davis and Charles Planck today presented a MassDOT committee with options that would close the budget gap, including a fare-only solution that would require a 33 percent increase, raising the cost of a bus ride from $1.50 to $2, and the cost of a subway ride from $2 to $2.60.

The most cost effective service reduction, according to Planck, would be to eliminate the 30 least used weekday and weekend bus routes and subsidies for six municipally run bus routes. Those bus service reductions would net the MBTA $25.2 million.

Davis said eliminating the $120 million deficit without fare increases or service cuts is “not going to be possible through cost containment or additional revenue sources that we have control of.”

House Speaker Robert DeLeo has identified funding for the MBTA and funding to help remove state employees from the capital budget as problems that must be addressed in transportation financing legislation this year.

Gov. Deval Patrick in January placed before the Legislature a plan to generate $1.9 billion in new tax revenues and steer those new monies into the public education and transportation systems. Lawmakers are working on their response to Patrick’s proposal, with the House Ways and Means Committee budget rewrite due out April 10.



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