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...Stacy Thompson, executive director of the transit advocacy organization Livable Streets Alliance, said the MBTA is essentially choosing between cost savings and the ability to quickly restore service. The service cuts “really put us at risk of not having flexibility or increasing service when we need it.”
The resolution is supported by several transportation organizations across the country, including Transportation for America, League of Conservation Voters, Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) Environmental Law and Policy Center, Livable Streets Alliance, Disability Rights Education Foundation, Safe Routes Partnership, National Association of City Transportation Officials (NATCO), Riders Alliance, and The Wilderness Society.
Stacy Thompson, director of the Livable Streets Alliance, warned that the T should not cut buses and trains now, because it may need them as more riders return.
“It’s about having a boatload of flexibility for the next six months. And yes, that may cost some more money,“ she said.
[Kristiana] Lachiusa cited TransitCenter’s report that showed Black, Brown, and lower-income residents were more likely to continue to rely on transit for their mobility needs during the crisis. She made the case for transit agencies continuing to implement bus lanes in the face of budget cuts.
Ambar Johnson, program director for LivableStreets, said although green spaces are scattered throughout Boston, residents currently lack safe, non-motorized routes that connect them to these spaces.
Johnson said transportation inequalities become especially important to address during a public health crisis.
“As we’ve seen during the age of [COVID-19], people having access to green space is imperative for their mental health, their physical health,” Johnson said. “Making sure that every person who lives within this area has equal and equitable access to green space is incredibly important.”
Stacy Thompson, director of the Boston transportation group Livable Streets Alliance, said the state should be perfecting the at-grade design, rather than continuing to deliberate between the options.
“Knowing that there is a broad consensus around supporting the removal of the viaduct, what work is the state going to do to ensure that they can avoid unduly impacting the river and ground the viaduct?” she said.
Stacy Thompson, executive director of LivableStreets, said the public transit system is chronically underfunded and the pandemic exacerbated its problems. She noted that essential workers traveling to hospitals or grocery stores never stopped using public transit. “To me we are choosing to make a crisis worse by not properly funding transit,” she said.
Kristiana Lachiusa, community engagement manager at transit advocacy organization LivableStreets Alliance, said the plan could neglect the needs of some commuters, especially those whose routes saw extremely low ridership.
"We need the legislature to step up and make sure we have the resources to keep this critical service running" - Stacy Thompson
At an event protesting the cuts Monday, Stacy Thompson, director of the Livable Streets Alliance advocacy group, said those still using the low-ridership services are the riders who need public transit the most.
“They say, ‘We’ll cut the service no one is riding,'" Thompson said. "Well, the one or two people on that bus are going to homes to make sure your children are being cared for, or are going to the hospital to make sure you are being cared for.”
"The MBTA previously, throughout the pandemic, has done a really good job of trying to adjust service and inform riders about the crowding so that people can either adjust their schedules or try to be more careful to avoid really crowded buses,” said LivableStreets Community Engagement Manager Kristiana Lachiusa. “With the service cuts, I think that there’s definitely the perception that the T won’t be as safe.”
Stalling vital projects like the Better Bus Project – the effort to redesign the agency’s bedrock network for a low-car future – Rail Vision and Regional Rail – a plan to bring trains with subway-like frequency to many suburbs – won’t solve the MBTA’s short-term budget shortfall. Continuing to invest in these important initiatives will help build a 21st-century transit system – and aid our economic recovery.
“People think we need to create a festival, we need to program something to get people outside,” [Stacy] Thompson says. “People want to go outside. It’s about just giving them the space, and the ability to get there in the first place.”
“What has been so critically missing from all these conversations and pretty pictures is that you only get to the part where you get to put dining outdoors when you are in a community that isn’t dealing with all these other systemic inequities,” [Stacy Thompson] said.
“MBTA bus drivers are less distracted than regular drivers and have more training,” says Kristiana Lachiusa, Commuity Engagement Manager for LivableStreets Alliance. “They generally do a better job in terms of keeping people safe and comfortable in the lanes.”
... the reduced level of service could stymie efforts to get the economy fully back, with frequencies far below what riders were used to before the crisis, said Stacy Thompson of the Livable Streets Alliance, a transit advocacy group.
“You’re basically setting up a scenario where you potentially have a vaccine, you have a low enough rate [of transmission] that employers are asking employees to come back to the office at a time when we cut service,” she said.
[Kristiana Lachiusa, community engagement manager] said these fare hikes could pose extra challenges for those who use the MBTA while commuting to work. Those who need to take the T, bus or commuter rail to get to work are the people who are still working in person, meaning they are already at higher risk of infection.
Stacy Thompson, director of the Livable Streets Alliance in Boston, said the MBTA also should be pressing the state Legislature for more assistance.
“I just wish they were significantly more explicit about how bad it is,” Thompson said. “It’s really hard for the public to grasp just how truly catastrophic a level of service cuts we could have.”
Stacy Thompson, executive director of LivableStreets Alliance, said the trucks have blind spots making it hard to see and navigate in a city.
The area of the crash is also known to be a dangerous corridor, said Thompson... “We have not moved fast enough and been proactive enough in making streets safer,”...
"The ventilation systems that are operating now are the same ventilation systems on the buses and trains that were operating in February that were moving essential workers safely to their jobs," said Stacy Thompson, the executive director of the LivableStreets Alliance."You know, the real issues are masks and crowding."
Stacy Thompson, executive director of LivableStreets Alliance, said she supports short-term interventions like the pop-up lane project, but would like to see more direct intervention when it comes to connecting the Downtown area with communities on the eastern side of the city, like Mattapan and Hyde Park...
Thompson said she would like to see more intervention to help communities of color most affected by COVID-19 meet their transportation needs.
[LivableStreets Community Engagement Coordinator Shavel'le Olivier] said residents are responding to the survey in a positive way. She said in the first three weeks, they have already garnered 412 responses online. She said the end goal is to uplift the issue in the eyes of Boston City Hall so residents can see some aid to the crashes and unsafe nature of how the road is currently used.
“There has been a long history of challenges around balancing the transition from an industrial space that carries a lot of large vehicles and trucks in particular, to a space that accommodates more residences, businesses, and people traveling on transit or by bike,” said Stacy Thompson, director of the Livable Streets Alliance...
"Buses run faster when they’re not collecting fares, and it’s just not that much money, especially in a $400 million deficit, to just stop collecting fares on buses,” the group’s Executive Director Stacy Thompson says.
Stacy Thompson, the executive director of LivableStreets Alliance, said there’s a “regional and statewide epidemic of fatal crashes on our streets.”
“People with privilege are comfortable signing a statement, are comfortable calling someone else racist, but that’s different than the long hard work of transforming a policy,” said [Stacy] Thompson.
...Stacy Thompson, director of the pro-transit Livable Streets Alliance, worried the MBTA may seek to cut costs from programs that are less noticeable to riders but will be important in the future, such as overhauling the bus system.
“What happens to all these things that were really necessary that we fought for?” she asked.
Stacy Thompson of the LivableStreets Alliance says that it’s up to political leaders – not the T’s management – to fix the transit agency’s structural deficits...
“Long before the pandemic, we were arguing that being overly reliant on fares was an inherent risk,” said Thompson in a phone conversation on Thursday. “...The legislature and Governor need to step up and fund this service adequately for the long term, no matter what lawmakers in Washington might do.”
“Part of the reason why the expansion is even possible in the first place is Boston and neighboring municipalities made a decision to own the system and invest in it,” said Stacy Thompson, director of the advocacy group Livable Streets Alliance.
...Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce joined several community, environmental and transportation advocacy groups- including TransitMatters, Livable Streets, Conservation Law Foundation, and the Charles River Conservancy - in a July 31 letter panning the latest proposal.
“Repair or replacement of the highway viaduct is neither practical nor just,” the letter said. “The existing viaduct is the legacy of inequitable highway policies that tore communities apart decades ago - the impacts of which are still being felt by the residents of Allston today..."
Stacy Thompson of Livable Streets Alliance said, “The problem isn’t the new tactical bike lanes — the new tactical bike lanes are great. The problem is that people in this city don’t follow the rules.”
She said the city should focus more on making these new bike lanes in areas with more people of color and front-line workers who are riding bikes to and from their jobs — places like American Legion Highway and Dorchester Avenue.
Kristiana Lachiusa, community engagement manager at LivableStreets Alliance, an advocacy group for equitable transportation in Boston, said LivableStreets disapproves of the MBTA’s decision because it hurts marginalized communities that rely on public transportation.
“COVID-19 has, as we’ve seen many many studies now, disproportionately impacted low-income and especially Black Indigenous people of color,” Lachiusa said. “Low-income folks and communities of color have been the ones who have continued to ride transit the most.”
Leaders of the Transportation for Massachusetts coalition, TransitMatters, LivableStreets Alliance and the Metropolitan Area Planning Council urged legislative leaders to drop a provision in the Senate's roughly $17 billion transportation bond that bans the Department of Transportation from increasing tolls on the Massachusetts Turnpike to help pay for what could be nearly a decade of work on the Allston Multimodal Project.
On this week's edition, Chris Lisinski talks transportation funding with a trio of advocates: Chris Dempsey of Transportation for Massachusetts, Stacy Thompson of LivableStreets, and Jarred Johnson of TransitMatters.
Some critics say these measures don't go far enough, however. Stacy Thompson, the executive director of “LivableStreets” Alliance — a transportation advocacy group in Metro Boston — says she is calling for all-door boarding to minimize traffic at a particular entrance.
“I was on the bus just this past Friday,” Thompson said. “People cue up, they crowd to get to that door, especially if they’re concerned that the bus will leave without them.”
Stacy Thompson, executive director of Livable Streets Alliance... said the pandemic illustrated the need for buses and trains to keep running to serve essential workers – often workers of color who rely on public transit to work in places like grocery stores. It also raises the specter that congestion will worsen if people return to work but choose to drive rather than take the MBTA for safety reasons. “If we don’t dig in and start meaningfully addressing the issue, we’re at risk not just of going back to the way things were…but congestion that was worse than before, with not enough money to pay bills at the MBTA,” Thompson said.
Stacy Thompson, executive director of LiveableStreets Alliance, said, “It is our moral obligation to make sure that people have safe, affordable, and reliable access to transportation. My key message today is when you hear things like ‘clean buses’ and ‘better service’ that’s not crazy or insurmountable. These are reasonable, achievable solutions that both the Legislature and the MBTA have the ability to act on right now.”
"[Markey] will be joined by Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, Boston City Councilor At-Large Michelle Wu, and Vivian Ortiz of Livable Streets Alliance and they plan to talk about the need for fare-free transit in cities, according to his campaign.
Markey and Pressley last month introduced the Freedom to Move Act, which would create a grant program to facilitate fare-free bus and rail systems and address transit equity gaps.
The group LivableStreets Alliance, which is often critical of the T, says while the T isn't perfect, it has been vital for essential workers.
"They have implemented really aggressive cleaning strategies and they've done a lot to keep their operators safe," Stacy Thompson, Executive Director of LivableStreets Alliance said. "I actually think that the MBTA's work to keep the system running and to keep it safe is the undercover success story of 2020."
“I do believe that a lack of access to transportation — to accessible, affordable, rapid, reliable transportation — has contributed to these inequities,” [Pressley] tells Curbed. According to a 2019 report by LivableStreets, a Boston-based transportation advocacy group, Black bus riders in the region spend 64 more hours every year traveling than white riders.
"U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) and Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA) introduce legislation Friday to their respective houses of Congress that would promote public transportation and provide fare-free public transit systems... The legislation is supported by a number of groups and advocacy organizations, including LivableStreets Alliance..."
LivableStreets Executive Director Stacy Thompson joined BNN's Chris Lovett for an interview.
"...[M]embers of a prominent city roadway safety task force are calling for Danilecki’s removal from his liaison post with the organization — a move the mayor’s office has hinted might be imminent.
“It is unacceptable for an officer who engages in brutal tactics against civilians to be the liaison between BPD and those of us who are fighting to make our streets safer,” several members of the Vision Zero task force wrote in a June 9 letter to Mayor Martin J. Walsh.
A large coalition of community groups, environmental organizations, and transit advocates are petitioning the MBTA to acknowledge the threats of police brutality and take steps to ensure that the region’s transit system will not be used as a tool for law enforcement.
In a letter sent yesterday to Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, three large advocacy groups for safer streets – the LivableStreets Alliance, Boston Cyclists Union, and WalkBoston – called on the City of Boston to remove the Boston Police Department (BPD) from the city’s Vision Zero Task Force, reduce the BPD’s annual budget, and “reallocate resources for social programs designed to strengthen communities.”
LivableStreets Executive Director Stacy Thompson joined BNN's Chris Lovett for an interview.
Stacy Thompson, director of the transportation advocacy group Livable Streets Alliance, suggested another way to build confidence in a skeptical ridership: post a simple sheet of paper on buses and train cars, similar to those in public restrooms, telling when the car was last disinfected, and by whom.
“Just communicating that on the bus, in multiple languages, would do so much to help people understand how clean and safe the system is,” Thompson said.
“The pilot is the process,” said Stacy Thompson, executive director of the LivableStreets Alliance, during the public testimony portion of the hearing... “The Washington Street bus lane pilot in Roslindale was successful in part because we just got some signs out, we put cones out, we tested it and we surveyed after. There was not a single public meeting, but the public was engaged."
Speaking on behalf of the Livable Streets Alliance, Executive Director Stacy Thompson said that “any method of building before assessing is not good practice” in reference to what she and others had observed with the presentation, calling for further clarity and consistency as part of the planning process.
Thompson went on to say that she did not see alignment with Vision Zero goals or modern transportation guidelines to keep people safe, and announced that Livable Streets had expressed these concerns prior to the meeting being held.
Several transportation advocates have said they worry the bridge is being overbuilt, and that the transit lane will largely benefit privately-run shuttles and could someday be fully opened to car traffic. Stacy Thompson, director of the Livable Streets Alliance, has long campaigned for a smaller, more human-scale bridge, and she repeated that call Wednesday night.
“We really appreciate the work the team has done to think about the walking and biking component, but we’re still deeply concerned,” Thompson said. “We want to see a person-first approach [and] we aren’t seeing it yet.”
Louisa Gag, public policy director for LivableStreets Alliance, an advocacy group for equitable transportation, said redesigning highways where speeding is a problem may help reduce fatalities.
“The City proposed a plan to do what’s called a ‘road diet’ or a reduction in the number of travel lanes,” Gag said. “So cars can provide more space for the sidewalk and for protected bike lanes.”
On Wednesday, the... Massachusetts-based LivableStreets Alliance in partnership with WGBH Boston hosted an online forum about this very question. The second in a four-part series, “Virtual StreetTalks: Walk This Way” was billed as a discussion about the pros and cons of various street interventions, with Massachusetts Congressional representative Ayanna Pressley, a member of the influential bloc The Squad; Lynda Lopez, advocacy manager for Active Trans, and a former Streetsblog Chicago reporter; and Oakland-based Naomi Doerner, principal and director of equity, diversity and inclusion for mobility consulting group Nelson/Nygaard.
Stacy Thompson, executive director of Liveable Streets, said as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, one thing people who use mass transit will definitely need is more space.
“We are going to need more social distancing on mass transit to restart the economy. We need to get people on transit, but we're going to need space, more PPEs, we're going to need more frequent buses and trains,” she said, especially in inner cities. “We know in Massachusetts where the hot spots are. It’s our communities of color. And they're also the communities that have the worst sidewalks, that have the least transit access, and we need to be putting our resources today to make sure our essential workers, our most impacted people, have what they need."
Listen to the radio segment here.
A joint letter to the board from members of the Allston Brighton Health Collaborative, Alternatives for Community and Environment, Community Labor United, Conservation Law Foundation, LivableStreets, MASSPIRG, TransitMatters, and Transportation for Massachusetts asserted that “taxpayers, farepayers, and the communities that contribute to the MBTA’s budget have not been sufficiently informed about the $700 million fare transformation contract.”
Stacy Thompson, director of the Livable Streets Alliance advocacy group, said the MBTA should determine what its future fare policy will be before developing the technology to implement it.
What the fare policy will be "is still the big open question. Technology should not supersede policy, and we should have sorted out the policy questions first,” she said.
Stacy Thompson, Executive Director of the LivableStreets Alliance, says that transportation activists should be more focused on the life-threatening conditions of crowded buses and narrow sidewalks in Mattapan and Chelsea, instead of focusing too much on whether Memorial Drive will be opened for recreational bike rides.
A Columbia Road greenway was one of the “top projects” from the city’s GoBoston 2030 plan, and one of the projects that was called out for being “off track” in a progress report from the LivableStreets Alliance last month.
Even some advocates who in normal times are aggressively supportive of more space for walking and cycling are sympathetic to this point.
"When a community is explicitly trying to flatten the curve, creating spaces for mingling is not the right approach," said Stacy Thompson, director of LivableStreets Alliance. "Opening a street and then requiring a police officer monitor... right now, that's just not where municipalities should put their resources."
Boston Mayor distributes additional $3 million to those providing essential services to front line workers
"EMS Wellness Screening Automated Texting Tool (LivableStreets Alliance) will allow central EMS staff to connect, interact with and monitor the health of front-line EMS staff through a new mobile automated texting tool."
"We are very supportive of stop consolidation,” Thompson said. “When stop consolidation is done properly, it can really speed up service and make for a better overall experience for the folks who are waiting for the train and the folks who are riding it."
"Livable Streets Alliance has done their own surveys focusing on [older] communities, which has been great because their work tends to be during the middle of the day, whereas [the City of Boston's] tends to be early morning and evening and very much centered on your standard commute... [T]hat’s where [LivableStreets] has come in and done kind of the... trips to the community center and the trip to your health care provider around 1:00 PM and engaged with a group that doesn’t always get to be as loud and expressive necessarily at these public meetings."
Listen to the podcast here.
“We’re making progress, but we’re not quite there to truly see all of it by 2030," [Stacy Thompson] said. "But we have all the ingredients to get it done and that is positive."
In a new report released this morning, the LivableStreets Alliance says that Boston is making good progress on improving street safety, but by and large has yet to make significant progress on its ambitions to reduce traffic and air pollution by increasing biking, walking and transit use.
"Gag... said that the bill would promote racial equity by replacing human police enforcement with automation. 'If you are implementing cameras in a purposeful and equitable way,' Gag said, 'then you get to remove this aspect of bias on the part of the police officer.'"
"Stacy Thompson from Livable Streets also called the bill 'a positive first step,' but added that, 'It's not bold enough to meet the scale of our transportation crisis.' 'While it's a good start to include some dedicated revenue for the MBTA and the RTAs, important policies like making fares more equitable are missing from this package,' she said."
"Stacy Thompson, executive director of LivableStreets Alliance, said in a speech she thinks the funding package should go toward fixing Massachusetts' public transit and infrastructure. 'I don’t need to tell you that we are in a transportation crisis,' Thompson said. 'You experience it every single day.'"
"I don't need to tell you we are in a transportation crisis, you experience it every single day," said Stacy Thompson, executive director of Livable Streets. Her organization is one of several dozen comprising Transportation For Massachusetts, which is pushing for increases to the gas tax.
"We just need to get past this false notion that we don't have money. It's time to act," said Stacy Thompson, executive director of the Livable Streets Alliance.
"'We can fix this,' agreed Stacy Thompson, executive director of coalition member LivableStreets... 'But we need every person in this room to pick up the mantle – literally pick up the packet that you were given today – because we need your voice. We need you to reach out as individuals, we need you to activate your networks. Ask the Legislature to pass a comprehensive bill that will increase funding.'"
Gag said LivableStreets supports imposing higher fees on TNCs, but that to effectively reduce congestion, Massachusetts must look at such hikes as not only a mechanism to accrue more money but also as a way to shape behavior.
“If you’re interested in moving your wealthiest patrons seamlessly from your business to Assembly Row, a gondola might be the best solution,” says Stacy Thompson, of the Livable Streets Alliance. “But from the public’s perspective it’s not a good use of a public way.”
"Speakers at Monday’s meeting pushed for MassDOT to ensure that the planned new West Station commuter rail stop would have four tracks, not three, to meet potential future growth in demand. They also warned that limiting service on the Worcester Line during construction while simultaneously constricting the Turnpike will create commuting headaches with no relief.
“As a congested state, we cannot push more people onto that road,” said Ari Ofsevit, the project lead for the Livable Streets Alliance."
"As LivableStreets has been saying for more than a year – Congress Street is an ideal location to implement full Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)… Congress street has the potential to become the literal heart (geographically speaking) of the transit, walking, and biking transformation that is taking hold in Metro Boston." - Stacy Thompson
“The need for stricter enforcement of bus only infrastructure has been elevated as more and more cities and towns implement bus priority infrastructure,” LivableStreets Alliance Executive Director Stacy Thompson said in an email. “While we are supportive of better bus lane enforcement we hope the State will also explore camera enforcement which is utilized in New York City.”
"The need for stricter enforcement of bus only infrastructure has been elevated as more and more cities and towns implement bus priority infrastructure," LivableStreets Alliance Executive Director Stacy Thompson said in an email. "While we are supportive of better bus lane enforcement we hope the State will also explore camera enforcement which is utilized in New York City."
"Stacy Thompson, executive director of the LivableStreets Alliance, said some drivers simply ignore signs designating bus-only lanes and there should be consequences.
“It’s a really important first step,” she said."
Louisa Gag, Public Policy and Operations Manager for LivableStreets, served on the task force that collaborated with Somerville city staff to produce the plan. "It's a big long plan with a lot of action items. City staff worked really hard to vet the goals with various city departments to make sure the plan is realistic and achievable, but also ambitious," said Gag.
LivableStreets Alliance, a transit advocacy group in the Boston area, estimates all Massachusetts transit agencies could make bus service free for $60 million a year, including Boston’s. That translates to a 2-cent increase in the state gasoline tax, the advocacy group said.
Proponents of the idea argue that . . . the true replacement cost would be closer to $36 million. That gap, they say, could be covered by a 2-cent rise in the gas tax.
"That's where something controversial or impossible a few years ago now seems possible," said Stacy Thompson, the executive director of the LivableStreets Alliance, a transportation research group.
In last week’s State of the City address (“Mayor calls for bolder action on transportation, housing,” Page A1, Jan. 8), Mayor Martin J. Walsh tasked the Boston Police and Transportation departments to “implement a plan to strengthen traffic enforcement” in Boston. As bicycle and pedestrian advocates on the city’s Vision Zero Task Force, we have some suggestions on what should be included in that plan." - Stacy Thompson, LivableStreets Stacey Beutell, WalkBoston Becca Wolfson, Boston Cyclists Union
As the Globe recently reported, the Livable Streets Alliance estimated that making MBTA buses free could cost as little as $36 million a year. The Boston-area transit advocacy group also reportedly estimates that making public buses free across Massachusetts could be covered by a 2-cent increase in the state's gas tax (Walsh, for his part, supports a 15-cent increase in the tax).
Advocates have identified MBTA's crumbling bus garages as the major limiting factor that prevents better bus service. In the "64 Hours: Closing the Bus Equity Gap" report published in September, the LivableStreets Alliance wrote that "the MBTA's service standards are hamstrung by the size of its vehicle fleet… Without addressing the bedrock issue of the MBTA's bus fleet size and garage facilities, all riders will continue to be underserved.
The classic New England village was built around walking, and communities across Massachusetts would benefit from doubling down on that strength in the 2020s. In Greater Boston, this includes borrowing from Olmsted's Emerald Necklace to create an Emerald Network of shared-use walking and biking paths that connect the region's diverse neighborhoods and job centers.
"To me, this is not a giveaway," said Stacy Thompson of the Livable Streets Alliance. "This is really about how do you make the bus system more efficient and more desirable with the resources we have today." Supporters, however, argue that eliminating fares on local MBTA bus routes could be done on the relative cheap: maybe as little as $36 million a year, according to an estimate by the Livable Streets Alliance. That number, which does not include the Silver Line or long-distance express routes, reflects the fact that a huge portion of MBTA bus riders transfer to the subway, paying $2.40 for a combined trip, or hold a monthly bus-subway pass, and would continue to pay for the train service even with free buses. Making most buses free on the T and every other public bus system in the state could be covered with a 2-cent gas tax increase, according to Livable Streets.
On the TransitMatters Codcast hosted by CommonWealth magazine, Jim Aloisi, the former transportation secretary and TransitMatters board member; Josh Fairchild, the co-founder and president of TransitMatters; and Stacy Thompson, the executive director of Livable Streets, looked back at 2019 and forward to 2020. They predicted the Legislature would pass a transportation revenue package and assembled a wish list of fairly predictable initiatives they would like to see action on.