The Boston Globe’s Tim Logan has an important story today about an emerging new paradigm for funding public transportation: charging a fee to property owners who will benefit from it.
It’s already working in some areas, Logan reports. Columnist Shirley Leung notes that Steve Wynn is paying a substantial subsidy to improve Orange Line access to his proposed Everett casino (which I still hope will never get off the ground, but that’s another matter).
My wicked smart Facebook community has already been talking about using such fees to pay for the $1 billion extra that it’s going to cost to build the Green Line Extension into Somerville and Medford. It sounds to me like a great idea, especially since — as state Secretary of Transportation Stephanie Pollack tells Logan — developers are already assessed fees for road improvements. I’d rather see them pay for a new MBTA station than a new interchange.
As always, we need to avoid unintended consequences. There’s already a danger that small, independent businesses will be forced out as property values soar. Perhaps they could be exempt from whatever fee structure the state ultimately decides to adopt.