The Latest From BostonBiker.org
News, Events, Updates
The advocacy groups are weighing in on the new plan, and they like it. They do acknowledge however that this plan is fragile, and will need our support if we hope to see it passed.
From what I have heard it sounds like it will take Massachusetts into the modern world. A world filled with amazing public transportation, and state of the art walking and biking facilities.
Some reactions below:
Livable streets (via Email)
- The report identifies a 10-year combined $684 million operating deficit facing MassDOT, the MBTA and Regional Transit authorities, if new investments aren’t made.
- Over 10 years, the Governor’s proposal would double the investments we’re making in our transportation system, including investments in RTAs, increased funding to cities and towns, maintenance priorities on the MBTA, and dedicated funding to bicycle and pedestrian improvements.
- More than half the proposed $1 billion annually would help balance highway and transit budgets, relieve some MBTA debt, run buses at night and on weekends in cities such as Springfield, and end a practice of borrowing for basic highway operations such as mowing and striping.*
1. Email your legislators using this easy to use template.
2. Follow us on Facebook for latest updates, news and to share information with your network.
Here is what some of our members and volunteers are saying:
“I want long term transportation funding because the T should be the best in the country.” – Boston resident and LivableStreets volunteer
“I want long term transportation funding because world-class cities have world-class transit.” – Medford resident and LivableStreets member
We will be sending out more announcements and action e-lerts in the coming weeks and months so stay tuned!
MassBike, From their Website:
Governor Patrick is finally taking on the state’s transportation crisis in the upcoming legislative session. With the state’s ambitious mode shift goals and GreenDOT Implementation Plan both strongly supportive of biking and walking, we were anxiously waiting to see if the Governor’s funding proposal reflected these priorities. In other words, would the state put its money where its mouth was? Well, it appears that Governor Patrick is trying to do exactly that:
The funding plan proposed by Governor Patrick includes a significant increase in funding for biking and walking, dedicating $430 million over the next ten years. Click here for the full plan.
We like the Governor’s bold move to fix our broken transportation system, and think it will provide better transportation for everyone in Massachusetts, whether you bike, walk, drive, or take transit. There is going to be much wrangling between the Legislature and the Governor about where the revenue will come from. Governor Patrick has proposed a 1% income tax increase (softened by a 0.75% sales tax decrease). It is likely that the funding plan and the revenue proposals will change as the Legislature considers the whole package.
We will work hard with the Legislature and our allies at Transportation for Massachusetts to make sure that funding for bicycling actually does increase to meet the state’s (and our) ambitious goals to get more people on bikes. However, a strong, unified voice from people across Massachusetts will be needed to see this plan become reality.
Here is how you and your friends can help:
- Read the plan or the summary.
- Email your legislators (look them up here) as well as House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Therese Murray (see below for sample text).
- Express your support on Facebook and Twitter. Forward this message to your friends and family.
- Receive bulletins from MassBike and Transportation for Massachusetts by signing up for our email lists.
- Submit a letter to your local paper, comment on articles on-line, or call in to talk radio. There will be people who do not see the value of investing in biking and walking, and they need to hear from you!
- Email us at [email protected] to let us know who you’ve contacted.
Sample text of email to your legislator:
I support investing in our transportation system and I am writing to ask you to do the same.
Massachusetts needs a long-term strategy that will fix what’s broken, reduce delays and congestion, and make our cities and towns healthier and more prosperous.
I use the transportation system every day. I want to know that it will work when I need it—that roads and bridges will stay open, that the trains will run on time, that the roads will be safe for bicycling, and that we can build the walking and bicycling trails that my community wants.
We have some hard choices, but you can make sure that we get a fair blend of revenues and modernizations that add up to the $1 billion investment that we need.
Thank you for your attention, and your action.
Tags: future, governor, patrick, plan, public transportation, Taxes
Posted in advocacy | 4 Comments »
Got this in the email, I trust Livable Streets For good info, so I would urge you all to take a good look at this. If the public transportation system falls apart that will mean more people in cars…which is bad for bikers. Good public transportation goes together with cycling like peanut butter and chocolate…that is we need both to have a good working system.
What is Ballot Question 3?
This proposed law would reduce the state sales and use tax rates from 6.25% to 3%.
What does it mean for you?
Passing of Question 3 will mean a dramatic loss of revenue to the MBTA and result in less public transportation service and fare increases. Potential changes include:
- Fare hikes ranging from $.25 to more than $1 per trip and up to $31 per month for passes
- Shutting down ferry service completely
- Closing commuter rail stops
- Elimination of commuter rail service completely after 7 pm and on weekends
- Elimination of several B, C and E Green Line stops
- Elimination of the Mattapan Trolley after 8 pm on weekdays and completely on weekends
- Reduction of midday weekday subway service by 50%
- Reduction of weekday evening service by 50% between 8 pm and 12:30 am
- Dramatically cut The RIDE paratransit service
- Elimination of 1/3 of current bus routes
Why is this important?
Public transportation is a key ingredient to healthy, vibrant cities. Public transportation moves you quickly and efficiently through the city. Public transportation is vital to those who cannot afford a car or who choose not to drive, and a critical component to our transportation network and an active lifestyle.
LivableStreets is working to improve public transportation in the Boston region to make it safe, affordable, and convenient. The possibilities are great, but not if the funding is cut!
A NO vote would make no change in the state sales and use tax rates.
Read more about what Question 3 means for you…
> MA Election Division, Ballot Question information >>>
> MassPIRG alert >>>
> OnTheMove coalition media advisory >>> (pdf)
> MBTA Advisory Board report >>> (pdf)
> Metro newspaper article >>>
Tags: LivableStreets, Taxes, Vote
Posted in advocacy | 1 Comment »
Seems like now might be a good time to get a bike, not only because it is RAD, but because it will help you escape a good amount of new taxes! Bikes for the win!
Full presser below…
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT Kyle Sullivan
February 20, 2009 Becky Deusser
Colin Durrant (EOT)
GOVERNOR PATRICK ANNOUNCES TRANSPORTATION
AND ECONOMIC SECURITY PLAN
Plan Reforms Big-Dig Culture, Rebuilds Trust and Transparency to Help
Secure the Commonwealth’s Economic Future
BOSTON – Friday, February 20, 2009 – Governor Deval Patrick today announced his
vision for a comprehensive reform plan to radically simplify the Commonwealth’s
transportation system, while addressing serious fiscal challenges stemming from
decades of neglect and inaction, and a failed bureaucracy under the “Big Dig” culture.
Governor Patrick’s Transportation and Economic Security Plan incorporates
recommendations from the Transportation Finance Commission Report that uncovered
decades of inaction and neglect under previous administrations. After receiving this
report in 2007, Governor Patrick started to develop a plan to secure the
Commonwealth’s economic future and maintain safety of the state’s roads and bridges.
The Transportation and Economic Security Plan, which builds on innovative reforms
proposed by Senate President Therese Murray, follows an aggressive two-year reform
effort led by the Patrick Administration that has saved taxpayers $83 million in savings
and efficiencies throughout the transportation bureaucracy.
“The days of irresponsibility, of avoiding the truth and the consequences, must end and
end now. We are all out of time. Now is the time to reform, rebuild and renew our
system from top to bottom,” said Governor Patrick. “The good news is that right now, we
have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to coordinate federal stimulus funds, state
capital money, our accelerated bridge program, and the reforms in the Transportation and Economic Security Plan to make our roads and bridges safer, grow jobs, and build
a strong economic future.”
Reforming the Big Dig Culture
The Commonwealth’s transportation system faces an estimated $15 to $19 billion
funding gap in the next 20 years to maintain the current network of roads, bridges and
transit for safe, reliable service. A 2007 report issued by the Transportation Finance
Commission stated: “The cost of this neglect will be felt in our regional economy and in
our way of life. … Business as usual will not suffice.”
Crushing debt and substandard management from the Big Dig has siphoned muchneeded
dollars away from maintenance and operations, and fed a culture of out-of-scale
benefits, inefficiencies and a lack of accountability.
Under Governor Patrick’s leadership, the transportation agencies and authorities have
generated more than $83 million in savings and efficiencies through transportation
reform efforts, while working on a long-term reform plan.
Those reforms include:
• Joining 49 other states in using civilian flaggers on construction projects
• Streamlining project delivery time at MassHighway by 40%
• Saving $47 million at the MBTA by reducing overtime costs and staff levels and
increasing employee health care contributions.
• Saving $31 million at the Turnpike by eliminating middle management and toll
• With the legislature’s support, launching the Accelerated Bridge Repair Program
to address the backlog of maintenance projects left by previous administrations
Patrick Reform Plan: A Unified Transportation Agency
In spite of these efforts, it is necessary to implement reforms that radically simplify the
current system to build a modern transportation network that is adequately funded and
professionally managed to help secure our economic future.
Governor Patrick and his transportation team, led by Transportation Secretary James A.
Aloisi Jr., have put forward a comprehensive reorganization plan that builds a unified
and transparent transportation system through the following reforms:
• Creates a consolidated Executive Office of Transportation with four Divisions:
Highway, Rail & Transit, Aviation & Port, and Registry of Motor Vehicles
• Abolishes the Turnpike Authority and create one highway, tunnel, and bridge
• Consolidates state aviation assets
• Creates an Office of Performance Management to ensure public accountability
• Enacts all Transportation Finance Commission Reform (TFC)
Recommendations, including creation of a Private Project Ombudsman to
streamline project development, which could save $2.5 billion over 20 years
Renewing Investments to Secure Economic Future
In addition to simplifying the system, the Commonwealth must address significant longterm
financial challenges throughout its transportation agencies and authorities. The
Transportation and Economic Security Plan will help pay down debt and make sound,
sustainable investments to fix crumbling roads and bridges and secure the state’s
economic future. The plan includes the following reforms:
• Restructuring and simplifying our transportation bureaucracy, including
abolishing the Turnpike Authority
• Ending the “23 and out” special perk in the MBTA pension system
• Bringing the Turnpike and MBTA employees into the state health care system
• Increasing accountability and transparency throughout the transportation system
• Making our transportation system more environmentally-responsible
• Streamlining operations and eliminating 300 positions
• Working to move MassHighway personnel off the capital budget and back onto
the regular payroll
• Increasing the state fuel tax to pay down debt and avoid toll and fare increases,
while exploring innovative solutions to start phasing out the fuel tax, such as
using a pilot GPS-based technology to collect fees electronically.
The plan proposes a fuel tax increase of 19 cents – approximately $8 per month for
most drivers. Future increases would follow the Consumer Price Index (an essential
component that the state failed to do last time). The gas tax has not been increased
since 1991. The Governor said he will not support an increase in the gas tax without
several other restructurings and reforms outlined in his plan.
The plan is transparent and accountable on the new revenue from the gas tax,
accounting for and dedicating each new penny to a specific transportation initiative:
• 4 cents to roll back the proposed toll increases on the Turnpike
• 6 cents to preserve current MBTA services and prevent a fare increase
• 1 cent for Innovative Gas and Toll Solutions
• 1.5 cents for Regional Transit Authorities
• 1.5 cents for targeted regional road projects
• 3 cents for rail projects outside of Boston
• 2 cents to address the costly practice of paying for personnel with bond funds
“Raising the gas tax is a last resort, and without it, our economy will suffer,” said
Governor Patrick. “Our long-term job growth and economic security, along with the
safety of our roads and bridges, depends upon both major reforms and new revenue
“We must act immediately to free our transportation system from the stranglehold of
debt so we can finally make the long-awaited investments necessary to improve service
and reliability,” said Secretary Aloisi. “Our goal is to build an open and accountable
transportation agency for future generations that supports economic growth, regional
equity and responsible environmental stewardship.”
Creating a “Greener” Transportation System
The transportation sector is the largest and fastest-growing source of greenhouse gas
emissions in the region. The Transportation and Economic Security Plan will make the
state’s transportation system more environmentally responsible through “Green”
initiatives that encourage more fuel-efficient vehicles and “Buy and Build Green”
These initiatives will encourage environmentally responsible practices and give people
the opportunity to drive less with increased access to transit, bicycling and walking:
• Unprecedented public transportation investments outside of Greater Boston
• Mandates Massport to participate in public transportation initiatives serving its
• Authorizes a “green car” sliding scale for new automobile registration fees
• Adopts and implements “Buy Green” and “Build Green” provisions
• Authorizes “Complete Streets” Initiative to encourage bicycling and walking
Encouraging Civic Engagement
Keeping to Governor Patrick’s commitment to transparency and encouraging civic
engagement, additional information is posted online at the Executive Office of
Transportation’s You Move Massachusetts website at
The website will allow residents to download and view documents, submit comments
and track progress of the reform plan through a new blog and updates from Secretary
Aloisi and transportation officials.
Tags: Deval Patrick, tax free bikes for the win, Taxes, Transportation Bill
Posted in advocacy | 1 Comment »