By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Debating the merits of MBTA expansion

In today’s Boston Globe, Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone and I debate the merits of expanding the region’s public transportation system following the winter of #MBTApocalypse — a no-motion catastrophe that is not yet over.

I actually don’t think Curtatone and I disagree all that much. We both reject the “reform before revenue” silliness (we need both). And I certainly think expansion is a good idea — some day. But we’ve got to fix the system we have before plunging ahead with ambitious new plans.

Monday update: While we’re talking about MBTA expansion, let’s think about what kind of expansion would give us the biggest bang for our buck. The Globe reports today that there’s not nearly enough parking at T stations, forcing people to drive to Boston even though they’d rather take public transportation — as anyone who’s ever arrived at Oak Grove much after 7 a.m. can attest. Building parking garages isn’t cheap, but they also generate a lot of revenue.

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1 Comment

  1. Mike Benedict

    Expand? Where? How?

    Mass. makes it extremely difficult and expensive to actually engage in any public works projects. (Just look at the the Prevailing Wage Law, a huge gift to unions at the expense of taxpayers.)

    Moreover, it seems counter-intuitive to continue to give money to those who have failed — repeatedly — to properly invest previous allocations. We’ve provided billions in funding to the MBTA. They haven’t delivered. Giving them more would be yet another expensive lesson in the painful art of governmental enabling.

    Finally, I have yet to see a plan that gets at the root of the mass transit problem in the greater Boston area, which is that it is both expensive and highly inconvenient for commuters. The trains, especially in the suburbs, don’t run often enough or at the ideal times for many commuters. Who any farther out than Beverly can drop their child off at school and actually be at the train station in time to be at work by 9AM?

    And if you wanted to get rid of your car altogether, the suburban bus system is a ruthless accomplice in the conspiracy to discourage the public from “public” transportation.

    Thanks, but no thanks.

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