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

News Release | MASSPIRG | Transportation

Massachusetts rates in top seven states on Volkswagen settlement spending plan

When it comes to clean transportation, Massachusetts ranked in the top seven states for making the most of funds from Volkswagen’s nearly $3 billion settlement with federal authorities, according to a new report card from MASSPIRG Education Fund and Environment Massachusetts Research & Policy Center.

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Report | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Transportation

VOLKSWAGEN SETTLEMENT STATE 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 Massachusetts rank on plans for investing VW mitigation trust funds in clean transportation projects?

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Report | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Blueprint for Tomorrow

Infrastructure is at the heart of America’s greatest challenges. The infrastructure investments made by generations past have contributed to improved health and welfare, and to the nation’s unparalleled economic prosperity. But the infrastructure decisions of the past have also cast a long shadow, leaving America to deal with the burden of lead water pipes that jeopardize our children’s health, fossil fuel pipelines that contribute to global warming, and transportation and solid waste infrastructure that no longer serve today’s needs.

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Blog Post | Transportation

Wouldn't It Be Nice if Bus and Bikeshare Worked Together? | Matt Casale

Guest Post from Frontier Group's Gideon Weissman: His week on BlueBike, Boston's bikeshare system, felt like a glimpse into the future of urban transportation. Now, how can Boston realize a modern transit system that more closely integrates bikes, buses and trains?

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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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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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News Release | MASSPIRG | Transportation

MA House Votes to Continue to Underinvest in Regional Transit Authorities

On Thursday, the Massachusetts House of Representatives voted to continue to underinvest in the Regional Transit Authorities (RTAs).  While the House’s amendment to the state budget bill increases funding from $80 to $82 million for fiscal year 2019, that still falls far short of the $88 million requested by the struggling RTAs and transit advocates.

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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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Report | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Keeping On Track

This is the first of a series of regular progress report issued by Transportation for Massachusetts, Conservation Law Foundation and MASSPIRG to evaluate the health of the Commonwealth's transportation system and the implementation of the Transportation Finance Act. Clearly, available funds cannot meet all of the state's pressing transportation needs.

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Report | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Transportation

A New Course

How universities across America are at the forefront of finding new ways to meet the demands of Millenials for lifestyles with less driving.

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Report | MASSPIRG Education Fund and Frontier Group | Transportation

Transportation in Transition

Americans’ transportation habits have changed. The average American drives 7.6 percent fewer miles today than when per-capita driving peaked in 2004.

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Report | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Transportation

A New Way to Go

Vehicle Sharing Services, Transit Apps and Wi-Fi Contribute to National Driving Decline; Policy Needs to Catch Up

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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 | Transportation

MASSPIRG urges State House Committee to support Public Transportation | Deirdre Cummings

MASSPIRG's Transportation Advocate Matt Casale testified in support of key transportation funding inititative. 

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News Release | MASSPIRG

Today, nearly all of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s (MBTA) buses run on fossil-fuels, contributing to global warming and health-harming air pollution. That could soon change: the Massachusetts State Senate is considering a bill requiring that the MBTA purchase only electric buses starting in 2030 and that all MBTA buses be electric by 2040.

News Release | MASSPIRG

New Jersey passed groundbreaking legislation to clean up the state's transportatation system, while similar legislation remains pending in the Massachusetts State House.

News Release | U.S. PIRG

Twelve states plus Washington, D.C. released new details today about a program to reduce global warming emissions from transportation. The Transportation and Climate Initiative will create an enforceable and mandatory limit on transportation pollution, and will generate funding that could be invested in cleaner alternatives. 

Blog Post

Along with the Zero Emission Bus Coalition -- a collective of environmental, transit, labor, community, and public health organizations dedicated to accelerating the electrification of public transit - we delivered this letter to Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, Secretary of Transportation Stephanie Pollack and the Chairman of the MBTA’s Fiscal Management and Control Board, Joseph Aiello calling for a clear commitment to transition the MBTA to all-electric buses. 

Blog Post

Walkers and bikers are getting killed at alarming rates -- at a time when we need this type of transportation more than ever. 

Transportation

Massachusetts Legislature considers bill to require MBTA to go electric

The Massachusetts Senate is considering a bill that would require the MBTA to fully transition to electric buses by 2040. The effect would be staggering: 55,000 tons of greenhouse gases would no longer be emitted each year — the equivalent of taking more than 10,600 cars off the road. MASSPIRG is urging the Legislature to pass this vital bill.

 

Transportation

12 states just announced plans to transform our transportation system

Transportation is the single largest source of carbon emissions in the U.S.—but Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington, D.C., just released a plan to change that, called the Transportation Climate Initiative.

 

Transportation

Transportation advocates call on Gov. Baker to invest in electric buses

Responding to the MBTA's plan to replace much of its aging fleet with diesel-hybrid buses, MASSPIRG 21st Century Transportation Director Matt Casale and a coalition of transportation advocates called on Gov. Baker to up the state's commitment to clean electric buses.

 

Transportation | U.S. PIRG

2018 was the deadliest year for cyclists since 1990

Seventeen pedestrians and two cyclists were killed every day, on average, in traffic crashes in 2018. PIRG Transform Transportation Campaign Director Matt Casale explains that cyclists face a dilemma: walking or biking are convenient and pollution-free modes of transportation, but they're also dangerous in a world that's been built car-first.

 
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