The T is not just broke, it's broken (Letter to the Editor)
THE MBTA'S projected $75 million budget gap for fiscal 2009 should send a strong signal to Beacon Hill lawmakers that our state's largest transit agency is in trouble ("T chief declares system 'broke' despite fare hikes," City & Region, Feb. 6).
A year after the T instituted a fare increase that generated $70 million, the agency faces yet another shortfall. At the heart of the problem is that the T devotes more than a quarter of its annual budget to paying off more than $8 billion in debt (including interest), a third of which can be attributed to transportation improvement and expansion projects that should have been part of the Big Dig's overall budget. Another large fare increase on the heels of the last one would be devastating in terms of a loss in ridership. A service decrease would be even worse. Addressing the MBTA's unsustainable debt must be a top priority for the Patrick administration and the Legislature.
The writer works on transportation policy for MassPIRG.