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Poll: Voters spread blame around for MBTA crisis

Shuttle buses have replaced Red Line service on the two branches south of the JFK stoNicolaus Czarnecki/Metro

(State House News Service) -- Boston-area voters say multiple parties are to blame for the MBTA's performance crisis during the recent weeks of heavy snow and cold temperatures.

According to a WBUR poll released Wednesday, 27 percent blame the state Legislature while 25 percent point the finger at former governors and 19 percent blame MBTA General Manager Beverly Scott. Five percent blame Gov. Charlie Baker, who won election in November, took office in January, and is facing his first big crisis in office.

The results were released as commuters face more problems on the T, which has advised riders on Wednesday to expect significant delays and canceled trips.

The MassINC Polling Group surveyed 505 registered voters from inside Rte. 128 between Feb. 12 and Feb. 15, including 215 Boston voters. The poll's margin of error is 4.9 percent.

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Other results:

-- 48 percent support the idea of paying more taxes to improve the MBTA and 48 percent don't. Baker opposes raising taxes and House Speaker Robert DeLeo recently ruled tax hikes out as part of next year's state budget.

At a press conference last Tuesday, Scott said the MBTA needs additional investment. But DeLeo, pointing to recent investments in the MBTA, dismissed the notion that the state had not provided enough funding. "I strongly reject that charge, and that's always the call of any types of problems with the T," DeLeo said, suggesting the T needed "some other reforms or some changes in personnel."

-- Eighty-one percent said addressing the T's problems should be a "major priority" for Baker's administration.

-- Thirty-nine percent of those polled considered the MBTA in "poor condition," up from 11 percent in January.

 
 
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