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Fifteen organizations have issued letters supporting the complaint filed to the Federal Transit Administration in July by the Conservation Law Foundation, Alternatives for Community and Environment and Greater Four Corners Action Coalition. The complaint asked the FTA to compel the MBTA to implement an alternative to the cancelled Late-Night Service that would reduce the disproportionately high and adverse effects cancelling Late-Night Service had on low-income and minority riders.
The organizations represent a gamut of viewpoints -- from a coalition of CEOs (Alliance for Business Leadership), environmental non-profits (Sierra Club Massachusetts, Environmental League of Massachusetts, 350 Massachusetts), a coalition of health advocates (Massachusetts Public Health Association), champions of economic justice (NAACP Boston, Neighbor to Neighbor, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice, Haley House, Local Initiatives Support Coalition Boston), non-profits focused on transportation equity (MASSPIRG, Somerville Transportation Equity Partnership, USPIRG, and WalkBoston), and a labor organization (Fight for $15).
“MASSPIRG has been a proponent of Late Night Service for decades, and we wholeheartedly support CLF, ACE and Greater Four Corners’ complaint asking for a proper analysis and mitigation of the impact cancelling Late Night Service had on low-income and minority riders,” said Kirstie Pecci, Staff Attorney at MASSPIRG. “The cancellation of Late-Night Service hurt many different people, including students, young professionals and shift workers. The diversity of the groups we were able to rally around this complaint reflects how broad a negative impact the cancellation of Late-Night Service had.”
“We have been proponents of the Late-Night Service because increasing ease of access to work and education furthers the imperative of economic justice for all,” reads the letter signed by Michael Curry, President, and Nia K. Evans, Executive Director, of Boston NAACP, “and we ask that the FMCB take action to remedy the injustice perpetrated when Late-Night Service was cancelled before being ordered to do so by the FTA.”
Letters were sent to MassDOT’s Fiscal Management Control Board and almost all specifically asked that the FMCB:
1.Conduct a complete analysis of alternatives to cancelling Late-Night Service, including the proposal for alternative Late-Service currently being investigated by the MBTA, and the complete MBTA staff recommendation for mitigation of the termination of the Late-Night Service;
2. Conduct a meaningful public comment process to get input on the cancellation of Late-Night Service and acceptable alternatives;
3. Implement a less-discriminatory alternative, including complementary THE RIDE service; and
4. Implement a temporary mitigation measure, including paratransit service, until a permanent alternative is in place.
“When the state fails to acknowledge low-income and minority riders, it fails twice: In economic growth, and in economic justice.” explained Jesse R. Mermell, President of the Alliance of Business Leadership, “As an economic growth failure, we stop short of reaching our Commonwealth’s full potential for economic success. We force the Massachusetts economy to slow down each and every night, and as a result we are leaving money on the table. As an economic justice failure, we don’t meet our moral obligation to create equal opportunity for each and every one of our neighbors. We send a clear message that we care about the access that some people have to opportunity, but not others.”
“We’re confident the FMCB will take steps to redress the loss of service,” added Pecci, “These letters not only express the concerns of the thousands of people that are affiliated with these fifteen organizations -- they also express our willingness to work with the FMCB to find equitable service alternatives.”
See all fifteen of the letters submitted here.
See the complaint filed by the Conservation Law Foundation, Alternatives for Community and Environment and Greater Four Corners Action Coalition, here.
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