MBTA approves fiscal 2014 budget amidst funding questions

Protests where held outside the Transportation building yesterday as the MBTA board was set to vote on fare hikes and service cuts. PHOTO BY NICOLAUS CZARNECKI/METRO
Protests where held outside the Transportation building Wednesday as the MBTA board was set to vote on fare hikes and service cuts.
PHOTO BY NICOLAUS CZARNECKI/METRO

The MBTA Board today unanimously approved its fiscal year 2014 budget, which assumes the state will close the transit agency’s $118 million operating deficit — although there is no guarantee the funding will come through.

Before the vote, more than a dozen T riders voiced dissatisfaction with the MBTA’s fares and service.

“We understand the financial crisis you have faced and the structural deficit. We are disappointed in the legislature’s short sightedness, and not seizing the opportunity to fill the problem, but instead to put another band aid,” Carolyn Villers, executive director of the Massachusetts Senior Action Council, said at the meeting.

“With that said, let me be very clear – we hold you fully responsible and accountable for the extreme and disproportionate fare increases you have levied on those who depend on The Ride…You need to stop the human suffering caused by your policy decisions.”

The T budget includes a $118 million “other state funding” line item, which transportation officials hope will be filled by the transportation financing legislation making its way through the legislature.

If the legislature and governor can’t reach an agreement, the T may be forced to close the hole by using funds meant for preventative maintenance, raising fares and cutting service.

The MBTA has done its job here,” said board member Janice Loux at yesterday’s meeting. “Forward funding never worked. We need to fix this, and I plead with the legislature to please remember the working poor.”

Also at the meeting, the board approved an $81.9 million contract with Barletta Engineering Heavy Division for the reconstruction of Government Center to make it compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The three-year construction project will close the downtown station for two years. Other Barletta T projects include overhauls of Charles MGH, Kenmore Square, Airport and Science Park.

Confronting an increase in assaults against bus drivers, MBTA General Manager Beverly Scott said the T is trying to come up with safety measures, which might include partitions to protect the drivers.

Scott also said there had been outreach to youth, and training to “assist in how to de-escalate situations.”

Currently 370 buses out of about 1,000 have cameras, and it costs about $6,000 per bus to install cameras.

Follow Morgan Rousseau on Twitter: @MetroMorgan
Follow Metro Boston on Twitter: @MetroBOS

 


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

International

Jews in eastern Ukraine ordered to register, Kerry…

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned reports that Jews in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities "or suffer the consequences."

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

NBA

Deron Williams leads Nets over Raptors in Game…

The Nets traveled to a raucous Air Canada Centre but came out with an important Game 1 victory over the Raptors.

NBA

Carmelo Anthony agonizing over Knicks future as season…

There’s still the cloud hanging over the franchise’s head as to the pending free-agent status of All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony.

NFL

Jets host players with eye toward NFL Draft

The Jets hosted a number of NFL Draft hopefuls for workouts on Thursday, with an eye toward some under-the-radar players.

NFL

Chris Johnson: I wanted to go to 'a…

Now that Chris Johnson is a Jet, the team has to figure out if one of the most explosive players in the NFL over the last half decade has anything…

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.