Hundreds protest T cuts
February 3, 2012
By John Ruch, Jamaica Plain Gazette
A parade of 75 speakers, including many Jamaica Plain officials and residents, blasted the MBTA’s proposed fare hike and service cuts at a Roxbury Community College meeting on Jan. 19. Another meeting was slated to be held Wednesday night in JP as the Gazette went to press.
At least 250 people attended the Jan. 19 meeting. A few people were willing to pay higher fares, but no one wanted service cuts. Those include killing the E Line subway/streetcar on the weekends and eliminating most of the JP Loop bus, among other slashings.
Attention quickly focused on the MBTA’s $5.5 billion debt and funding issues as the real problems.
“None of these people in this room had anything to do with these problems and the solution cannot be on their backs,” said Mission Hill resident Rich Giordano, summing up the situation.
Clad in a “Don’t X Out Public Transit” T-shirt, JP resident Ralph Walton said, “Massachusetts is a commonwealth. A commonwealth is an organization that pools its resources to take care of its needs.” He called on the state legislature to fix the MBTA’s flawed funding system.
State Sen. Sonia Chang-Díaz and state Rep. Jeffrey Sánchez indicated that some kind of tax increase will be required. Both have proposed gas tax increases before, but legislators from Western Mass. have not approved.
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Joining local residents in opposition were officials from such major institutions as Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Northeastern University and Wentworth Institute of Technology. Other organizations joining the protests included Occupy Boston, the T Riders Union and the Massachusetts Senior Action Council.
Sarah Horsley, a JP resident Fenway Community Development Corporation employee, noted the unity of such a diverse group of people against the plan.
“We’re not always on the same side of an issue, but we’re all here tonight saying this is not acceptable,” she said.