State of Transportation Funding in the Commonwealth

July 24th, 2013 Breaking news!

On July 24, the State Legislature secured the biggest investment in MA transportation in decades, thanks to you!

You stepped up to our multiple action e-lerts and personal emails asking you to send petitions, call your reps and show up at Transportation Day on the Hill. You listened, responded and took action to help move this bill forward. Thank you for helping take our most important transportation systems out of debt and disrepair and move us on the path to having a 21st century transportation system in the Commonwealth.
The T is finally getting part of the upgrade it needs.

The bill:
  • Invests a dedicated $600M/year  in MA's transportation system a year for the next 5 years
  • Closes the MBTA's structural budget gap for 2013, which was over $100M this year
  • Caps rare increases at a 5% increase every two years
  • Invests in the regional transit authorities (RTAs) so they can provide better service, stop operating on a credit card, and conduct comprehensive planning with input from the public;
  • Requires long-term planning and posting of MassDOT's annual reports, finance plans, and all capital expenditures on the MassDOT website for better transparency and efficiency;
  • Improves public input and participation by creating a Project Selection Advisory Council and an advisory board to Mass Port Authority. 

The bill is a solid foundation that begins to address the chronic underfunding of our rails, roads, sidewalks and bikeways. It's a start to a creating a comprehensive solution to our transportation crisis. Thank you for helping secure this critical funding.

Now it's time for LivableStreets to ensure the funding is spent wisely and fairly.  Become a member today to support us this new funding going to much-needed biking, walking and transit projects.

Previous Action e-lerts:

The case for public transit in Massachusetts

Without high quality transit service, we cannot continue to prosper and grow. Vibrant business districts and walkable urban environments are made possible by a dense land use pattern that relies heavily on transit rather than on single-occupancy vehicle trips. Excellent transit is also necessary to meet the Commonwealth's climate protection goals. In addition to ensuring the MBTA's ability to maintain a state of good repair and operate the existing system sustainably, LivableStreets Alliance urges legislators not to lose sight of the need to continue to move ahead with system expansion.


  • 1 of 3 residents in the metro Boston area relies on transit to get to work.
  • 74% of the Massachusetts population and half of the jobs in the Commonwealth are in the MBTA area - 175 cities and towns.
  • 1.3 million trips are made on T buses and trains every day

The fare hikes and service reductions are an attempt to close the agency's $161 million budget gap and will be the subject of over 20 public meetings being held between mid-January and March. The fare increases will most hurt those riders who can least afford it, particularly students and seniors who could see an even steeper increase in bus fare passes. LivableStreets is part of a coalition of groups  - On The Move (OTM) and Transportation for Massachusetts (T4MA) - that is pressuring for a long-term funding solution that will sustain the T for years to come. We need your help in asking all of our Senators and Legislators in the Statehouse to craft a long-term funding plan for the MBTA that does not balance the budget on the backs of riders.

MBTA information >>> Press Release: January 3, 2012: MassDOT releases fare and service proposals study  

Related news: The finance committee has drafted a response to MassDOT's proposals to dramatically increase MBTA fares and cut critical MBTA services. Their plan contains no service cuts and a smaller fare increase than that proposed by MassDOT. 

"Guest commentary: Riding into the future on the MBTA" 1/10/2012
"Lt. Gov. Murray concerned about T service cuts" 1/11/2012
"Mass Transit Needs Mass Action: It's up to you to respond to the MBTA fare hikes 1/11/2012
"12 Years of MBTA budget woes: Was the T born broke?" 1/11/2012
"The MBTA needs adequate funding: raise the gas tax" 1/12/2012
"Is the T safe to ride?"
"Free charlie occupy activists take on the T 1/17/2012

Coalition partners

Boston On The Move >>> On the Move is a coalition of community based organizations in greater Boston that came together in 2000 to advocate for transportation justice. Our goal is an environmentally sustainable and socially just transportation system that is integral to the preservation and creation of livable communities. 

Transportation for Massachusetts >>> 
 Transportation for Massachusetts brings together a diverse coalition of Bay State organizations in the areas of transportation, regional planning, affordable housing development, public health, environmental advocacy, environmental justice and smart growth that use their varied experience and collective influence to help create a safe, convenient, reliable and affordable transportation system for all the people of Massachusetts.  

Past correspondence - pre 2011

"Is the MBTA on track? In the real world, funding is only an issue; politics is the most persistent problem" 4/30/2008

> ´╗┐MBTA Financial Crisis-- Advocates Point to Authority’s Staggering Debt. "Until this debt problem is solved, the MBTA will continue to request rate hikes to bridge its operating deficits, and will do nothing to address its backlog of necessary service improvements. Without action the problem will only get worse."

> LivableStreets wrote a letter to the legislature telling them that they haven't provided enough money to transit. Because of inadequate funding by the legislature, the MBTA is stuck having to choose between raising fares or cutting services (or some combination) in order to balance the books for the next two years (meaning if nothing is done, there will be more fare increases in two years).

> In a letter submitted to the Boston Globe, LivableStreets wrote:  "... even if every possible management reform was implemented at the MBTA, the resulting savings would not close the budget gap. The money that the T is forced to use for debt payments would be better spent improving service to attract more riders and expanding service to new communities. A growing T would get more single-occupancy cars off the road, increase smart growth opportunities, and generate new local and state tax revenues."

Public Meetings - up to date listing on our calendar here >>>