Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Advocates strive for stability, rather than local bus services

More than half of Massachusetts’ residents live within the coverage of the 15 local government transportation agencies, but the uncertain financing outlook for each RTA means they may not be able to provide enough reliable service to meet potential demand, lawmakers and advocates said. said.

As the House acts in favor of a possible vote to overcome Charlie Baker’s $ 3.5 million government veto on RTA funding, a series of speakers urged the Transport Committee to support legislation that raises the money the transportation authorities each years received from the state will increase. paves the way for system-wide improvements.

Service varies significantly across the 15 RTAs, especially unlike the MBTA in and around Boston. Some RTAs do not offer buses on weekends or Sundays, and most do not offer late night travel.

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“There are too many people who currently do not have access to reliable transportation from the RTAs who really benefit from it, and the legislature cannot allow these inequalities to continue,” said Alexis Walls, an assistant campaign director for the Massachusetts Public Health Association. , told lawmakers. late last week.

Rep. Natalie Blais, D-Sunderland, and Senator Harriette Chandler, D-Worcester, have tabled bills aimed at increasing state support to RTAs and giving agencies a more predictable funding outlook.

The legislation would increase the bid for the minimum contract aid to $ 94 million, the amount legislators proposed to send to regional districts in the 2022 budget principle, and index the future annual credits to rise along with inflation.

“RTAs are an absolute necessity for some people to do their day and live productive and fulfilling lives,” Chandler said. ‘If they did not have an RTA and if we do not invest in our RTAs, the people who rely on them will have no other option. They do not have the MBTA, they may not have a car and sometimes walking is simply not feasible. ‘

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Legislators approved $ 94 million in funding for RTAs as part of the 2022 fiscal year, but Baker vetoed $ 3.5 million and shaved the allocation to $ 90.5 million.

House leaders have not outlined plans or a timeline for the process of domination, but MassDOT chief financial officer David Pottier said Wednesday he believes the action could take place as early as Monday.

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