Mar. 13, 2012
BOSTON — In an open letter to MBTA users, state transportation secretary Richard Davey said Tuesday the plan to close a $159 million budget gap would include both fare hikes and service cuts. The letter was co-authored with acting MBTA general manager Jonathan Davis.
In its January draft plan, the agency presented two potential scenarios. The first would raise fares 43 percent and cut 23 weekday bus routes. The second would raise fares only 35 percent but cut 101 weekday bus routes. Both scenarios would end all ferry service and weekend commuter rail. However, political observers had speculated that in the end, the T would raise fares but not cut service.
The hearings often drew protests. Davey acknowledged the public outcry, writing, "Nearly 6,000 of you attended our 31 public meetings, with nearly 2,000 individuals offering public comment. In addition, we received 5,850 emails from you about the importance of the MBTA in your lives. By comparison, the last time the MBTA raised fares in 2007 just 800 people attended a public hearing."
The final hearing was held Monday night in Brighton.
But worse could be to come. Davey emphasized that the new changes would not provide a long-term solution to the T's financial woes: "without a new dedicated revenue source, we know we will be back in this very place next year." He called on state legislators and Gov. Deval Patrick to "continue these discussions" to find a fix.
> > WGBH News: Lawmakers and advocates struggle to find solutions According to the letter, the agency will make the plan public before the next board meeting, which is scheduled for Apr. 4.
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