Archive for the ‘Transportation’ Category

Bumpy ride ahead for gov’s plan

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

March 12, 2013  By Emily O’Donnell, The Sun Chronicle

BOSTON – Gov. Deval Patrick is facing an increasingly bumpy ride in his drive to get more and spend more on the state’s transportation system.

There have been few outright supporters of his plan to raise the income and gasoline taxes while devoting a lower sales tax entirely to road repairs, rail improvements and additional help for the MBTA. The governor’s plan was challenged last week from various sectors, ranging from House Speaker Robert DeLeo to a coalition of transportation advocates.

In a speech to the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, DeLeo said the transportation plan should be “far more narrow in scope and significantly smaller in size” because Patrick’s more expansive proposal would “place too heavy a burden on working families.”


State officials grilled-Transportation overhaul gets scrutiny at hearing

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

Feb 28, 2013 By Emily O’Donnell, The Sun Chronicle



BROCKTON – State transportation officials were on the hot seat Wednesday as members of the Legislature’s Ways and Means Committees fired questions about Gov. Deval Patrick’s 2014 fiscal year budget proposal, asking how proposed tax hikes to pay for transportation improvements would affect citizens and the state’s debt limits.

Chief among the issues during the morning budget hearing at the Massasoit Conference Center was Patrick’s plan to pay for transportation improvements and maintenance with a 1 percent increase in the state income tax.

“We can’t afford the system we have today, but our transportation                    Commuters get off a train at the downtown
plan positions MassDOT to be able to maintain its access responsibly        Attleboro commuter rail station.
and promptly,” Transportation Secretary Richard Davey told the panel.          Staff file photo by Tom Maguire

More pain at the pump?

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

By Jim Morrison, The Sun Chronicle

BOSTON – As winter follows fall, so do intimations of new taxes follow elections.

In this case, it is speculation of a gasoline tax increase to fund the reworking of the state’s transportation plan.

“I will say that I am well aware that numerous discussions have been going on about increased taxes and that obviously members of the majority party don’t want to have those go public until after the election, but they are absolutely under way and going on,” House Minority Leader Brad Jones, R-North Reading, told State House News Service this month.

MBTA’s mobile ticketing program gathers steam

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

By Edward Donga, Patriot Ledger

CAMBRIDGE – Commuter rail riders across eastern Massachusetts will soon be able to match the tap-and-go simplicity their subway- and bus-riding counterparts enjoy with Charlie Cards.

The MBTA began a pilot program recently in which owners of smartphone – iPhones, Androids or BlackBerrys – are able to download a free application allowing them to buy train tickets electronically. The mobile ticketing program started last month with about 100 riders on the Old Colony and Greenbush lines.

Masabi, a British company that has produced similar apps for English rail systems, has developed the app for use in Massachusetts. It allows users to purchase one or more tickets on their smartphones using a credit card. After a ticket is purchased, an onboard train conductor verifies it.

Lowell’s MBTA service spared

Sunday, April 15th, 2012

By Neal J. Riley, The Lowell Sun

BOSTON — Service on the Lowell commuter-rail line has been spared under a budget proposal state transportation officials unveiled yesterday morning, but many commuters will be slapped with fare increases as high as 30 percent for a one-way ticket to Boston.

The cost for a single-ride ticket is jumping from $6.75 to $8.75 at the Lowell stop. A ticket at the North Billerica stop will climb to $8 from $6.25, and a ticket at the Wilmington stop will climb to $6.75 from $5.25.

The cost of a single-ride ticket on the Fitchburg line is also increasing. Those who board the train in Littleton will pay $9.25, up from $7.25, while those who board the train in Shirley and Ayer will pay $10, up from $7.75.

MBTA woes fuel I-93 border-toll talk?

Sunday, April 15th, 2012

By Neal J. Riley, The Lowell Sun

BOSTON – In the face of proposed MBTA service cuts and fare hikes, the contentious issue of charging tolls on Interstate 93 at the New Hampshire border is revving up once again on Beacon Hill.

State Rep. James Miceli, D-Wilmington, a member of the Joint Committee on Transportation, said talk of new tolls on I-93 has been “floated” in the Statehouse in recent weeks. But he has not heard a specific proposal from the Patrick administration or committee members.

“It isn’t being seriously considered, but things have a way of changing overnight,” he said.

MBTA board approves fare increases, service cuts over customer protests

Saturday, April 14th, 2012

By Corey KanePatriot Ledger

BOSTON — Despite 11th-hour pleas from mayors in Braintree and Weymouth, the MBTA board of directors on Wednesday approved a budget that calls for increasing fares by an average of 23 percent and ending weekend service on two South Shore commuter rail lines and the Quincy ferry line.

Four of the board’s five members voted for the budget as more than 100 protesters chanted, “Shame on you!” Board member Ferdinand Alvaro of Marblehead cast the dissenting vote, saying the Legislature could do more to help.

“If we vote in favor of this fare increase and service cut, the Legislature will use this as an excuse to do nothing,” Alvaro said.

State Senate delays vote on right-to-repair bill

Saturday, April 14th, 2012

By Corey KanePatriot Ledger

BOSTON — After expediting a landmark auto-repair bill earlier this session, the Senate voted Thursday to hold off on a vote that would require auto manufacturers to provide independent shops with diagnostic repair information.

Sen. Susan Fargo, D-Lincoln, made the motion to table the bill until the next session. This allowed the Senate to spend more than two hours in debate on a competitive energy-pricing bill.

Arthur Kinsman of Plympton, a member of the Massachusetts Right to Repair coalition, attended the floor debate. He was surprised at the action but said the delay would not affect the bill’s chances.

Sides debate ‘right to repair’ bill at State House

Saturday, April 14th, 2012

By Corey KanePatriot Ledger

BOSTON – The long-simmering battle over requiring auto manufacturers to share diagnostic and repair information with independent garages returned to the State House on Wednesday.

More than 100 people crammed into a hearing room, some in suits and ties and others dressed in the uniform of aftermarket parts companies.

The latest version of the “right to repair” bill would mandate that manufacturers create an online database of diagnostic and repair information by 2015, as a condition to sell vehicles in the state. Owners of a vehicle would have access to information on their vehicle and independent repair shops could have access to this information through a paid subscription.

Superheros organize MBTA rally at the State House

Monday, April 9th, 2012

By Mounira Al Hmoud

BOSTON – Members of advocacy groups and unions dressed in superhero costumes rallied at the State House Thursday to oppose the MBTA’s plan to raise fares and cut services.

A crowd of around 50, dotted with blue capes worn by the Massachusetts Senior Action Council and red by other organizations including the T Riders Union and On the Move Coalition, gathered on the steps of the State House to bang drums and chant “Save the T,” and “No More Cuts.”

The demonstrators met with Mo Cowan, Gov. Deval Patrick’s Chief of Staff, delivering petitions that offered their self-named Fast Five solutions to save money, including the use of surplus snow and ice removal money to pay down the MBTA’s debt and implementing the UPass program at universities.