An open letter from MassDOT Secretary Richard Davey and Acting GM of the MBTA Jon Davis reveals that while the MBTA will not be going ahead with either of its original scenarios to balance the T’s budget, the new plan will include both service cuts and increases to fares. The exact details are not published yet.
Writing in the Boston Occupier, Jay Jubilee argues that the MBTA’s budget crisis is not about scarcity:
Several groups such as the T-Riders Union (TRU) have offered creative solutions that would enable the T to balance its budget without the toxic brew of cuts and hikes. Yet all indications so far are that these proposals are not being taken seriously by the MBTA.
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Transportation issues are generally presented to us by politicians and the mainstream media as “local issues,” just as local budgets are presented as in perpetual fiscal “crisis.” However, the current fiscal crisis facing mass transit agencies across the country has national and systemic causes. When we look beyond the narrow frame of the MBTA budget, much of the mainstream discussion stands revealed as a total farce. It’s built on a lie: that there “is no money available.”
There is plenty of money. We just need to go and get it.
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At last count, Massachusetts alone was home to between 50,000 and 100,000 millionaires, with plenty of billionaires to boot. Yet the tax contributions of these rich individuals and corporations have steadily fallen, leaving the public treasuries in a state of fiscal emergency. Imagine how easily a seriously enforced Robin Hood tax could net the needed funds not just to wipe out the T’s projected annual deficit of $160 million, but to erase the T’s entire $8 billion debt and even to transform public transportation into a free service available and accessible to all. Let’s say, just for starters, we take 1% of the wealth back from the millionaires and billionaires. That revenue alone could wipe out the T’s budget “crisis” overnight.
The fact that even such modest proposals are absent from the mainstream political scene, dismissed or ignored as “unrealistic,” testifies to how deeply corrupt and indifferent the current system is to the people’s needs. It’s basic math, and yet such a simple action appears as “impossible” within a system that is built to work for the 1%.