MBTA chief asks MassDOT to pencil in potential state bailout
In the midst of ongoing budget discussions that have made another round of MBTA fare hikes seem imminent, the head of the T is pleading with transit officials to approve a “placeholder” for an unspecified amount of new state assistance in April’s budget.
MBTA General Manager Beverly Scott sent a letter to the MassDOT board of directors on Wednesday asking for next month’s budget to include a placeholder for new revenue “as part of the solution” to close an operating budget gap of $140 million in fiscal year 2014.
“Without a new, stable and predictable stream of funding to help us right our ship once and for all, we will have no choice but to implement stringent budget deficit reduction measures that make it possible to live within our means. The system we have today will need to be significantly scaled back, impacting millions of residents and businesses,” Scott said in the letter.
She also pushed for legislators to support Gov. Deval Patrick’s long-term transportation plan, saying it will help end the “now-annual ritual of dramatic fare increases and service cuts,” but acknowledged that issue is unlikely to be resolved by the House and Senate before the board meets April 10 to approve a budget for fiscal 2014.
“To that end, I am recommending that the budget the board approves next month include a placeholder for new revenue as part of the solution,” Scott said.
Patrick’s budget seeks $1.9 billion in new revenue for transportation and education, including a new $1 billion a year commitment to transportation that would funnel $166 million to the MBTA in fiscal 2014 and $3.2 billion over the next 10 years.
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