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

“A Big Step in the Right Direction”: Regional Public Transportation Gets a Boost

On July 26, Gov. Charlie Baker signed a budget providing $88 million in funding for the state's Regional Transit Authorities, which provide a lifeline for people living in Springfield, Worcester, Lowell, New Bedford and towns in between.

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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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News Release | MASSPIRG | Transportation

MASSPIRG denounces federal proposal to stall Clean Car Standards

 

Americans stand to breathe more polluted air as a result of a rollback announced today by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration. EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler proposed to roll back the “Clean Car” fuel economy standards, which, if left in place, would eliminate more than 2 billion metric tons of emissions.

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Transportation

Final 2019 State Budget Includes Increase in Regional Transit Investment

Today, Governor Charlie Baker signed a state budget for fiscal year 2019 that funds the Regional Transit Authorities (RTAs) at a total $88 million, which represents the first significant increase in RTA investment in several years. 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 | 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

In Response to Lawsuit, Highway Administration Reinstates Transportation Clean Air Rule

In a big win for climate and clean air, the Federal Highway Administration today responded to a lawsuit brought by environmental groups by reinstating a federal requirement that state and local planners track and curb carbon pollution from cars and trucks on the national highways, which is a major contributor to climate change.

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Media Hit | Transportation

Boston's seaport eyed for testing new traffic management system

MASSPIRG's Matt Casale appeared on Fox 25 Boston to talk about the city's new traffic management system. 

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Media Hit | Transportation

Boston's rush hour is starting earlier, lasting longer

MASSPIRG Staff Attorney Matt Casale appeared on Boston 25 News on September 5 to talk about our traffic problem.

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News Release | MASSPIRG Education Fund | Transportation

WITH MASSACHUSETTS PLEDGING TO COMPLY WITH GOALS OF PARIS AGREEMENT, NEW REPORT FINDS $75 MILLION IN VOLKSWAGEN SETTLEMENT FUNDS COULD HELP ACCELERATE ALL ELECTRIC TRANSPORTATION REVOLUTION

A new report from the MASSPIRG Education Fund finds that $75 million from the Volkswagen (VW) settlement is headed to Massachusetts to help clean up the country’s transportation system and strongly recommends using the funds to purchase electric vehicle fast charging stations for highways along with an aggressive expansion of all-electric transit buses to replace aging, dirty, diesel buses. The report finds the state could supply between 112 and 224 additional fast charging stations, and could purchase around 79 all-electric, zero-emissions buses, reducing dangerous pollution and saving money, all while accelerating market transformation to an all-electric transportation system. 

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Transportation

MASSPIRG Statement on Funding for Regional Transit Authorities in Massachusetts FY18 Budget

 

On July 7, the House and Senate sent a $40.2 billion budget to Governor Baker’s desk. The legislation avoids tax increases and mostly holds spending flat at state agencies for fiscal 2018. Although the regional transit authorities (RTAs), as well as advocates, had recommended funding the RTAs at $86 million, in the budget on the Governor’s desk, RTAs, which provide public transit services throughout the Commonwealth, receive only $80.4 million.

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The Right Track

The Obama administration’s recent decision to award $1.2 billion in high speed rail funds to the Northeast Region is the first step towards a stronger, faster rail system that will reduce congestion, oil use, and carbon emissions, but there is much still to be done.

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What We Learned From the Stimulus

Stimulus money invested in public transportation projects created twice as many jobs as highway projects, according to a new report released today by MASSPIRG, in conjunction with the Center for Neighborhood Technology and Smart Growth America.

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Greasing the Wheels

The United States has 73,000 crumbling bridges, but year after year, startlingly few federal transportation dollars go to fixing them.

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Stranded at the Station

With both the demand and the pay-off so high, now would seem to be the time to build on this success and expand transit options, yet the opposite is happening. State and local budget cuts have put public transit agencies everywhere under tremendous pressure, forcing them to eliminate service, raise fares and lay off workers. While the depth of the funding crisis is the result of the unusually severe economic downturn, the cuts to this essential service underscore a basic truth: The funding base for building and operating public transportation is insufficient and vulnerable.

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Massachusetts and the Stimulus

June 29th marks the 120-day deadline for states to commit at least 50% of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act’s (ARRA) $26.6 billion in transportation funds. It provides a vantage point to examine how states are using he money, with a particular focus on the $438 million apportioned to Massachusetts.

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Blog Post | Transportation

How Deadly are Your State’s Roads? | Sean Doyle

A new report by Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute shows which states have the safest and most dangerous roads.  Here's how the states rank and what we can do about it.

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Blog Post | Transportation

The Facts We Need to Build a Thriving Transportation System | Kirstie Pecci

The Governor and his Special Panel have identified a number of reforms to the MBTA around areas like procurement, financial planning and customer service that warrant serious attention. However, the Governor’s bill is ignoring some of the key information we need to understand if we want to build a thriving public transportation system.  

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Blog Post | Transportation

11,000 Bay Staters Agree: WIND, RAIN OR SNOW, THE TRAINS SHOULD GO! | Kirstie Pecci

MASSPIRG and T4MA presented Governor Baker with 11,000 thousand signatures on a petition calling for more inverstments in the MBTA in front of the State House. 

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Blog Post | Transportation

Sign our Petition: Wind, Rain or Snow, the Trains Should Go! | Kirstie Pecci

Make your voice heard! After the MBTA's breakdown in the snowy conditions this month, it's clear we must address the chronic underfunding of our public transit system. Add your name to this petition to let the Governor and Massachusetts State Legislature know that we need reliable public transportation, roads and sidewalks.

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Blog Post | Transportation

Kirstie Pecci talks about the problems with MBTA on BNN News | Kirstie Pecci

Kirstie Pecci, Staff Attorney with MASSPIRG, talks about reasons for recent severe problems in MBTA service, as well as progress toward addressing problems, as tracked in a report by Transportation for Massachusetts.

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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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