Fix MBTA funding! An open letter from TRU

August 5, 2009

An open letter to Senator Stephen Baddour, Representative Joseph Wagner, Secretary of Transportation James Aloisi, Jr., the MBTA Board of Directors, and MBTA General Manager Daniel Grabauskas

Dear Leaders:

Taisha at a rally to bail out T riders

I am writing on behalf of the T Riders Union (TRU), a program of the nearly 700-member organization, Alternatives for Community & Environment (ACE). We are also a member of the On the Move (OTM) Greater Boston Transportation Justice Coalition. TRU works with riders directly, many of whom are bus riders in two committees: in East Boston/Chelsea and in Roxbury/Dorchester/Mattapan. We believe in a public transit system that serves all riders equally. Now is a critical time in the Commonwealth to work together to achieve a more affordable, accountable, accessible, reliable, green and sustainable MBTA.

Recent media attention has exposed the differences between Secretary Aloisi and General Manager Grabauskas. This has caught the attention of the MBTA board, Senator Baddour, and others. TRU believes we need to refocus our attention on the real issue; bailing the T out of its debt so that riders won’t have to suffer the unfair burden of the Big Dig anymore.

The fact of the matter is that T riders are most likely to get a fare increase and a reduction in services. This would be the fourth fare increase since 2000. If the MBTA Board of Directors votes to approve the fare increase and service cuts it will cause financial hardship on poor people and working families who are already unable to make ends meet. Why isn’t the emphasis on immediate solutions to the MBTA’s overall debt?

It seems to me that no one is truly representing T riders particularly those who are transit dependent. TRU would like to give legislators the opportunity to finish the job and create a long-term solution to fix our transportation finance crisis. The co-chairs of the Joint Committee on Transportation, Senator Baddour and Representative Wagner, as well as other leaders at the State House must speak up about their long-term plans to address the MBTA debt, and stop the fare increases and reduction in services now.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Taisha O’Bryant
TRU Chairperson

cc: Senate President Therese Murray, House Speaker Robert DeLeo, Senator Patricia Jehlen, Representative Carl Sciortino, Representative Liz Malia, Representative Alice Wolf, Representative Denise Provost, Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz, Representative Gloria Fox, the On the Move (OTM) Greater Boston Transportation Justice Coalition, the T Riders Union (TRU)