Let's Get Moving

IT'S TIME TO INVEST IN TRANSPORTATION ACROSS THE STATE—Massachusetts is being held back by a transportation system from the mid-20th century. With a larger, longer-term investment in public transportation, we can improve the quality of our lives, wherever we live in the Commonwealth.

In Massachusetts, the demand for transportation options is growing much faster than the supply. Why? Since the Eisenhower Administration, Detroit and Big Oil have dominated the decision-making, resulting in more highways, more traffic, and more dependence on foreign oil.

From the Berkshires to the Cape, our transportation needs are simply not being met. Our roads and bridges are crumbling and unsafe, our children suffer from above average asthma rates, and our work force spends on average 48 hours a year stuck in traffic. 

And even though Boston ranks 4th in the nation for average weekday ridership on rapid transit, we’re still 6th worst in the nation for congestion and 8th worst in the nation for air pollution.

When demand for better public transportation is skyrocketing, and yet 70% of Massachusetts commuters still commute to work alone in a car, it’s time for a change.

21st Century Transportation In Every Corner of Massachusetts

Massachusetts is considered by  many to be  the most progressive and well-educated state in the country, leading the way on so many important ideas and ideals, but we’re still getting around on a transportation system from the mid-20th century. 

With a larger, longer-term investment in public transportation, we can improve the quality of our lives, wherever we live in the Commonwealth.

So MASSPIRG is building support across the Commonwealth for a new path in which transportation is at the top of the decisionmakers’ list.

We need to invest in public transportation, sidewalks, and bike paths to help everyone in Massachusetts get around and to make our state:

  • Cleaner
  • Healthier
  • More accessible
  • Equipped to build an economy for the 21st century

 

Issue updates

Blog Post | Transportation

What did Boston's clear streets and sidewalks full of snow this winter say about our car-centric priorities?

 

The law of the land in Boston is that the city plows the streets, but residents are responsible for the sidewalks.

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Blog Post | Transportation

MASSPIRG Supports Important Road Safety Legislation | Matt Casale

In 2018, across the U.S., 6,227 pedestrians were killed in motor vehicle crashes. This is the largest annual number of pedestrian fatalities in the U.S. since 1990. In 2017, across the U.S., 777 bicyclists were killed in motor vehicle crashes. There is no question that we need to do more to keep people on our roads safe. On March 28, MASSPIRG submitted testimony to the State House's Joint Committee on Transportation in support of important legislation that will make our roads safer.

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Transportation

Electric bus demonstrations held in three Massachusetts communities

To showcase the value of fully transitioning from fossil-fuel buses, MASSPIRG held electric bus demonstrations in three Massachusetts communities. A 40-foot-long all-electric bus began its tour at The Beebe School in Malden on March 21, before moving to Cape Ann Transportation Authority in Gloucester on March 22. It made its last stop at First Church in Belmont on March 24 from 2:30pm-4:30pm.

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Blog Post | Transportation

Our 'Driving into Debt' report highlights the impact of risky auto loans and car ownership

Talk about a captive market: For most of us, it's next to impossible to work, shop or go to school without a car. Auto lenders are taking full advantage.

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Transportation

Statement: MBTA’s fare increases will reduce public transit ridership

 

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) Fiscal and Management Control Board today approved an approximate 6 percent fare increase for all forms of MBTA public transportation services with the exception of buses. The added travel costs will take effect in July and are the fourth increase since 2012. These increased fares are expected to cause a significant decline in ridership. Read on for MASSPIRG's statement.

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Transportation

MASSPIRG and Over 20 Organizations Send Letter to Governor Baker in Support of Investment in Regional Transit

MASSPIRG and over 20 organizations representing diverse communities throughout the Commonwealth delivered a letter to Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker in support of investmet in the Regional Transit Authorities, which provide bus services throughout the Commonwealth. The letter urges Governor Baker to fund the Regional Transit Authorities at $88 million for the next year. Read the letter here.

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Transportation

Massachusetts to Spend VW Settlement Money on Electric Buses and EV Charging Infrastructure

Yesterday, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) released a draft plan that proposes using the first $23.5 million the state is receiving as part of the Volkswagen emissions cheating scandal settlement on electric vehicle infrastructure. The plan dedicates $11 million for the purchase of new, all-electric buses, $5 million for the expansion of electric vehicle charging infrastructure, and reserves the rest to be used on other projects that will help electrify the state’s transportation network.

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Transportation

MASSPIRG Statement on Regional Transit Authority Budget in Fiscal Year 2019 Spending Plan

The Massachusetts State House issued a compromise spending plan that funds the Regional Transit Authorities at $88 million, which would be enough to help stave off proposed service cuts throughout the state. The RTAs provide essential public transportation services to over 32 million riders across the Commonwealth, but have been forced to propose service cuts due to rising costs coupled with, until now, stagnant funding.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG | Transportation

New Report Identifies Nine Wasteful Highway Projects Across the Country

Highway projects are notorious for wasting taxpayer dollars. Now, a new report by the U.S. PIRG Education Fund and Frontier Group identifies nine wasteful highway expansion projects across the country, slated collectively to cost at least $30 billion.

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News Release | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Electric Buses Drive Healthier Communities

If the MBTA transitioned its entire fleet of diesel buses to all-electric vehicles, it could significantly cut greenhouse gas emissions each year and reduce toxic air pollution that creates a public health hazard. A new report from MASSPIRG Education Fund and Frontier Group, “Electric Buses: Clean Transportation for Healthier Neighborhoods and Cleaner Air,” shows that a full transition to electric buses in we could avoid an average of 55,000 tons of climate-altering pollution each year -- the equivalent of taking over 10,000 cars off the road.  

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Report | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Who Pays For Roads?

Many Americans believe that drivers pay the full cost of the roads they use through gas taxes and other user fees. That has never been true, and it is less true now than at any other point in modern times. Today, general taxes paid by all tax- payers cover nearly as much of the cost of building and maintaining highways as the gas tax and other fees paid by drivers.

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Report | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Keeping On Track

Keeping on Track provides you with updated information about the financial state of the Commonwealth's transportation system, completed statutory requirements, missed deadlines, and improvements made through new transportation investments.

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Report | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Transportation

The Innovative Transportation Index

This report reviews the availability of 11 technology-enabled transportation services – including online ridesourcing, carsharing, ridesharing, taxi hailing, static and real-time transit information, multi-modal apps, and virtual transit ticketing – in 70 U.S. cities. It finds that residents of 19 cities, with a combined population of nearly 28 million people, have access to eight or more of these services, with other cities catching up rapidly.

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Report | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Transportation

The Next MASSDOT

Massachusetts is at a pivotal moment with regard to transporation. In recent year, the Commonwealth has taken the first steps toward reversing the transportation system's long slide into debt and decay. Long-awaited reforms to transportation agencies are under way. Long-deferred projects to repair and modernize our transportation system are finally moving forward.

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Report | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Millennials in Motion

Millennials are less car-focused than older Americans and previous generations of young people, and their transportation behaviors continue to change in ways that reduce driving. Now is the time for the nation’s transportation policies to acknowledge, accommodate and support Millennials’ demands for a greater array of transportation choices.

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Blog Post | Transportation

The Trump Administration’s Flawed Reasons for Rolling Back Clean Car Standards | Matt Casale

The Trump administration is making some pretty outlandish claims to justify its roll back of the nation’s most effective program at fighting climate change. Asserting that stronger fuel economy standards make our roads less safe, the administration moved last week to weaken Obama-era clean car standards -- but their claims just aren’t true.

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Blog Post | Transportation

To Build A 21st Century America, Start Here | Jeff Robinson

The stakes in the current infrastructure debate are high. But what matters most is not the size of any federal infrastructure package, nor how it is financed, nor even how many jobs it creates in the coming years. What matters most is building the infrastructure that will enable America to respond to the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century.

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Blog Post | Transportation

MASSPIRG Testimony in Favor of Transitioning to 100% Renewable Energy | Matthew Casale

MASSPIRG Staff Attorney Matt Casale testified before the Massachusetts Joint Committee on Telecommunication, Utitlies, and Energy in favor a bill that would require the state to transition to 100% renewable energy by 2050.

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Blog Post | Transportation

MASSPIRG Testimony in Favor of Bill to Improve Rail Service Between Springfield and Boston | Matthew Casale

On September 18, MASSPIRG Staff Attorney Matt Casale testified before the Massachusetts Joint Committee on Transportation in favor of H3428 - An act relative to improving passenger rail service between Springfield and Boston.

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Blog Post | Transportation

As Vehicle Miles Traveled Rise, So Do Traffic Fatalities | Matthew Casale

Driving in Massachusetts can be deadly. More deadly than ever before, according to new data released by the National Safety Council (NSC). The new data show that in Massachusetts, there were 180 motor-vehicle fatalities from January 2017 through June 2017, a 46 percent increase compared to the same period in 2013. What accounts for the increase in the death toll? Well, more people are driving more miles. According to the NSC, the increase in fatalities in 2017 likely results from the improving economy and low gas prices. Both of those factors lead to more traffic, as more people commute to work and can afford to drive farther and take vacations. What is most frustrating about the increase in motor-vehicle deaths is that it is largely preventable. Investing in roads that are designed to calm traffic and increase options for people walking, biking and taking transit is not only a more efficient use of limited financial resources—it will saves lives. In short, if we shift our transportation policies to incentivize non-motor-vehicle modes of travel, fewer people will die.

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Blog Post

Despite claims to the contrary, new highway lanes are likely to place Massachusetts on the wrong side of a traffic congestion "tipping point."

News Release | MASSPIRG

 

In a rebuke to the long awaited study Gov. Baker released this morning --- “Congestion in the Commonwealth”--- MASSPIRG Staff Attorney issued a critical statement. 

Blog Post

Our testimony, delivered to the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy on July 23, 2019, in support of "An act to transition Massachusetts to 100 percent renewable energy" (HB2836 and SB1958) and "An act to promote zero-emission vehicle fleets by 2035" (HB2872 and SB1929). 

News Release | MASSPIRG

The House and Senate members of the budget conference committee unveiled their compromise budget Sunday for fiscal year 2020, which has now been passed by both the House and Senate. As part of that agreement, now heading to Gov. Baker’s desk, the Regional Transit Authorities (RTAs) will receive $87 million in base funding and an additional $3.5 million for one-time grants.

Blog Post

For all of us who rely on our roads and public transit, and our water, sewage and power systems, the agreement reached by President Trump and Democratic congressional leaders in May to commit $2 trillion to infrastructure should be good news.

Transportation | MASSPIRG

MBTA is starting to transform transportation

Across the country, the transition to electric buses is picking up speed. Nearly 200 new electric and hybrid buses are hitting Greater Boston's streets this summer.

 

Transportation | U.S. PIRG

Volkswagen settlement scorecard

Volkswagen was caught cheating emissions laws and settled with federal authorities. The settlement included nearly $3 billion for the Environmental Mitigation Trust. How well does our state rank on plans for investing VW mitigation trust funds in clean transportation projects?

 

Transportation | MASSPIRG

Electric buses make their way through Massachusetts

MASSPIRG gave three communities a glimpse into the cleaner, healthier future that awaits them with a transition to zero-emissions buses.

 
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