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
Local

Mayor reveals new tech hub Digital.NYC

Mayor Bill de Blasio revealed Digital.NYC on Wednesday, a new online platform aimed at connecting all things tech in New York City. The public-private partnership…

Local

Falling debris hits two men in Times Square

Two men were taken to the hospital Wednesday morning after being hit by falling debris from 110 feet above Times Square. Nancy Greco from the…

Local

Queens Assemblyman William Scarborough accused of misusing campaign…

Queens Assemblyman William Scarborough has been indicted on state and federal charges for allegedly withdrawing campaign funds as cash for personal use. Scarborough, a Democrat…

News

U.S. Secret Service director Pierson resigns under fire

U.S. Secret Service Director Julia Pierson resigned under fire on Wednesday after a series of security lapses came to light.

Television

TV watch list, Wednesday, Oct. 1: 'Criminal Minds,'…

The "Criminal Minds" team adds some supernatural assistance, as the "Ghost Whisperer" herself, Jennifer Love Hewitt, joins the show. She's playing an FBI agent, but you never know when someone…

Music

See the most popular Pandora station in your…

Who knew Bachata music was so popular?

The Word

The Word: Twilight just won't die

You thought our "Twilight" days were behind us, didn't you? Well think again. Series creator Stephenie Meyer (who would rather you not ask about "Twilight"…

Going Out

Which NYC restaurant lost its three-star Michelin rating?

A record 73 restaurants in New York City collected coveted Michelin stars on Tuesday as a mix of trendy spots and fine-dining stalwarts underscored the…

NFL

Rex Ryan fields more questions about Geno Smith,…

The idea Geno Smith will be replaced by backup Michael Vick appears to be all smoke, as the Jets are intent to ride with their second-round draft pick.

NFL

Will Beatty playing like franchise left tackle again…

Left tackle Will Beatty, who is the elder-statesman of Giants’ line, has turned around his season and become a consistent force on Manning’s blindside.

NFL

John Conner back with Jets for second stint

He'll be back. It's "Terminator 2" for the Jets, who brought back John Conner to the team on Tuesday after placing fullback Tommy Bohanon on…

NFL

Fantasy football: Ben Tate to break out, Larry…

Fantasy football: Ben Tate to break out, Larry Donnell will stay solid

Career

Creating a support system for minority women in…

When Kathryn Finney founded digitalundivided — an organization devoted to engaging minority communities with the tech world — she didn’t know quite what to expect.…

Sex

We can learn a lot from animals about…

There’s a lot we can learn about love from the birds and the bees — and the chickens, monkeys and squirrels that we share the…

Style

Saint Laurent

Our review of the Saint Laurent Spring '15 show at Paris Fashion Week.

Style

Céline: Paris Fashion Week Spring 2015

Our review of the Celine Spring '15 show during Paris Fashion Week.