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Contact: Matt Casale, 609-610-8002, firstname.lastname@example.org
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. The RTAs provide critical bus and other transit services throughout the Commonwealth outside of greater Boston’s MBTA region. This sentence should be the second, not the third: Stagnant budget allocations in recent years and rising costs of maintenance, fuel, healthcare, and wages have forced almost all of the RTAs to adopt or propose significant service cuts, which hurt riders and communities.
In a few weeks, the state Senate will introduce its version of the budget, which will also have to pass and then be reconciled with the House’s budget. The reconciled budget will then be sent to Gov. Charlie Baker, who can change it by using his line item veto.
Matt Casale, a staff attorney for MASSPIRG, issued the following statement:
“Advocates for the RTAs have been calling for greater investment to no avail for years. We urged for $88 million in this year’s budget simply to prevent further service cuts and allow the RTAs to maintain current levels of service. In the grand scheme of a $41 billion budget this is infinitesimal, but it would go a long way towards improving public transportation throughout the Commonwealth. Improved public transportation means less traffic congestion, improved public health, and cleaner air -- things that all Massachusetts residents would welcome. The additional $2 million will help, but still falls far short of what the RTAs need to provide the service the people of Massachusetts deserve.”
MASSPIRG is a non-profit, non-partisan public interest advocacy organization that stands up to powerful interests whenever they threaten our health and safety, our financial security, or our right to fully participate in our democratic society. On the web at www.masspirg.org.
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