Majority Support MBTA Bailout

Eric Moskowitz reports on the results of a recent Boston Globe pool which shows Massachusetts voters support a publicly financed bailout of the state's cash-strapped transit agency.
April 4, 2012, 8am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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The results of the survey, which showed the strongest support for a bailout in the areas in and around Boston, surprised pollsters and heartened those seeking to rescue what Moskowitz describes as "the nation's most indebted transit agency," and a highway system "so revenue-starved it must borrow to pay for routine upkeep."

In the face of recent proposals to make up a $160 million deficit for the upcoming fiscal year through fare hikes and deep service cuts, the survey shows a general recognition for the importance of the transportation system to residents and the regional economy.

According to Stephanie Pollack, associate director of Northeastern University's Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy, the poll results show that the, "conversation that's been unfolding over the last few months has really made [many] more people aware of how important the MBTA is... Even people who don't necessarily use it themselves have heard and read a lot about how important it is to other people and to the economy and employers.''

In an echo of the communication problem plaguing transportation financing across the country, Moskowitz points out that, "Analysts said work remains to explain to the public that fares alone do not cover the cost of any transit system, and that the state's gas taxes and tolls - rarely raised because of political pressure - fall short of providing enough money for road paving and striping, let alone major bridge and highway repairs."

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Published on Monday, April 2, 2012 in The Boston Globe
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