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

Call of Duty hoaxer blamed for $100K SWAT…

A heavilly-armed SWAT team and an army of police officers stormed a Long Island home fearing a grisly double homicide – only to find it…

National

Minnie Driver tweets naked celebrity snap to 'shut…

Actress Minnie Driver has responded to bitchy critics who sniped about her bikini body by Tweeting a naked picture of herself. The 44-year-old star of…

National

American middle classes no longer world's richest (guess…

America's middle classes are no longer the richest in the world – having been overtaken in the wealth stakes by their Canadian counterparts. For almost…

Local

Federal prosecutors charge 3 men in multi-million dollar…

Federal prosecutors in New York charged three men in connection with a $33 million fine art scam that spanned more than two decades.

Television

John Turturro tags in for Robert De Niro…

The cast of the courtroom drama miniseries has undergone yet another shift. Following Robert De Niro's exit, the cable network has brought in John Turturro…

Television

TV watch list, Tuesday, April 22: 'Glee,' 'Agents…

'Glee' Rachel makes her Broadway debut in "Funny Girl." Remember when she was just a high school drama nerd? FOX, 8PM 'Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'…

The Word

Lindsay Lohan's big, drunk interview

Lindsay Lohan appears to be completely off the wagon now, if Kode magazine's chronicle of her trip to Coachella is any indication. According to the…

The Word

What we learned from the premiere of 'True…

Does watching someone's marriage implode make for great TV? The show runners at "True Tori" think Tori Spelling's heartbreak is hot stuff indeed.

NBA

Nets settle for 1-1 series tie with Game…

DeMar DeRozan, who was an All-Star this season, hit two huge jumpers back-to-back to give the Raptors an 89-85 lead over the Nets with 2:10 to play.

NHL

Rangers reclaim home ice with Game 3 road…

The Rangers jumped out to a 2-0 lead early in the first period for the second straight game. This time, they held on.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: Brewers best in baseball, Dodgers,…

MLB Power Rankings: Brewers best in baseball, Dodgers, Cardinals, Yankees surge. The A's, Braves, Rangers, Giants and Rockies are also in the top 10.

NBA

Jason Kidd reacts to Mike Woodson being fired…

Jason Kidd played for Mike Woodson last year and Joe Johnson spent four seasons being the main focus on offense for Woodson in Atlanta.

Wellbeing

How to burn off all that Easter candy

Sorry to be a buzzkill, but you can't eat chocolate eggs and Jelly Bellys forever.

Food

Powdered alcohol: 5 things to know about 'Palcohol'

What's the deal with powdered alcohol? Here's what you need to know about Palcohol.

Travel

Travel hacks: 6 tips on living out of…

Lynne Martin shares her travel hacks on living out of just two suitcases.

Wellbeing

Tough Mudder pro gives tips on conquering a…

Learn hacks from head designer Nolan Kombol.