State Sen. Richard T. Moore and state Sen. Michael O. Moore were part of a bipartisan effort against a $51 million MBTA bailout this week.
“The Commonwealth should not be asked to fund the perpetual mismanagement of MBTA operation,” said state Sen. Richard Moore, D-Uxbridge. “Until there is a comprehensive management plan to prevent this from happening time and time again, we shouldn’t be asked to dedicate precious statewide resources that could otherwise maintain vital services or revert to our cities and towns.”
With the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) facing another substantial budget deficit, this time in the amount of $159 million to cover expenses for Fiscal Year 2013, legislation to cover $51 million of the debt passed the Senate on Tuesday by a vote of 26-9.
Changes have already been approved by the MBTA Board for a 23 percent fare increase and service cuts across the board to account for two-thirds of the debt.
An amendment supported by both legislators would have put in place an MBTA control board for at least three years to oversee all MBTA finances and operations, as well as make the bailout an eight year loan rather than an appropriation. The amendment was defeated.
“To issue what amounts to a blank check to the MBTA, without oversight and without transparency, is irresponsible to the taxpayers of Massachusetts,” said state Sen. Michael Moore, D-Millbury. “State funding without accountability, without addressing the heart of the problem, will only compound that problem in the future.”
The MBTA is one of the most-heavily subsidized transportation systems in the country, receiving a 60 percent subsidy from the state. The New York City transit system receives 40 percent of its funding from the state; New Jersey 34 percent; and the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority in D.C. 17 percent.
“While I believe there is a need to resolve the fundamental issues facing the MBTA, I could not support a bill that lacks oversight and accountability,” state Sen. Michael Moore said.
Users of The Ride, a service for disabled passengers, will be hit with increases of 100 percent to 150 percent under the fare hikes scheduled for July 1.