The Globe today has a story saying that even with money from the state, the T is looking into raising fares by 15-20%. You see, the $160 million the T may get from the state in the coming year isn’t enough to cover the ever-rising debt payments, and the agency is forced to consider this fare hike to be able to pay its bills.
And what is the response from the Chairman of the House Transportation Committee?
“It is unreasonable to think that there wouldn’t be adjustments in fares periodically,” said Representative Joseph F. Wagner, a Chicopee Democrat and cochairman of the Legislature’s Transportation Committee.
Yes, Chairman, is it unreasonable to think that fares will never go up. But you know what else is unreasonable? The fact that fares have doubled in the last decade.
Mr. Chairman, when was the last time the gas tax was raised? 1991? How about tolls?
Wagner said the transportation overhaul will provide cost savings. And he pointed out that the T already gets 1 percent of the state sales tax annually as a subsidy, meaning that the agency will get close to $900 million a year once the additional subsidy is taken into account.
It seems that Mr. Wagner doesn’t understand the concept of public transportation and thinks that riders should be thankful that the state is paying for any of it at all.
There’s a lot of talk from our elected “leaders” about the need to prevent toll increases, such as these gems from Senate President Terry Murray and Governor Patrick.
“The public cannot be expected to take on any additional burdens, like a toll increase, when they are already being asked to make significant sacrifices for the greater good of the Commonwealth,” Senate President Therese Murray said in a statement.
“We’re not going to have a tax increase and the tolls,” Patrick said. “Nobody wants that, I certainly don’t want that.”
It’s a shame that “the public” doesn’t seem to include those who use public transportation.