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T officials propose Charlie Card ads

The MBTA has proposed placing ads on Charlie Cards as part of a larger effort to bridge a $127 million projected budget gap without raising fares.

The MBTA has proposed placing ads on Charlie Cards as part of a larger effort to bridge a $127 million projected budget gap without raising fares.

The potential $1 million a year Charlie Card marketing campaign was presented to the state transportation board’s finance committee yesterday along with other creative cost-saving ideas.

“We have taken the last month or so to meet with each of the operating departments to identify cost efficiencies and non-fare revenue opportunities to balance the budget,” MBTA Chief Financial Officer Jonathan Davis told the board.

Davis hopes to cut the T’s budget shortfall to $33.2 million, including refinancing debt payments at an approximate $1 million cost.

“You can’t consistently restructure debt to close ongoing budget gaps,” Paul Reagan of the MBTA Advisory Board said. “They have to address the underlying flaws of the system. There’s way too much debt and the revenue streams are way too insufficient.”

Reagan said selling ads on Charlie Cards is a start but not a solution.

“None of that does anything about the ongoing huge capital needs on the system,” he said. “I think it’s smart they do it, it’s worth doing but it’s not going to solve the problem.”

The Fiscal 2012 budget request will be submitted to the Board of Directors on March 2.

 
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