Solving the Transportation Crisis


 - Transportation touches every aspect of our lives:How we get to work, how we get to school, how we buy groceries, how we seek medical care, and how we connect to recreation.And transportation in Massachusetts is facing a full-blown crisis.
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Transportation touches every aspect of our lives:

How we get to work, how we get to school, how we buy groceries, how we seek medical care, and how we connect to recreation.

And transportation in Massachusetts is facing a full-blown crisis.


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Think back to the months before COVID-19: the #1 issue facing Massachusetts was what to do about transportation.

Our public transportation system has been chronically underfunded for too long, leaving it unsafe, unreliable, and out of reach to too many communities. This forces more and more commuters on to our crowded and crumbling roads and bridges.

No matter how you try to get home, get to work, or visit friends, you face challenges. If you take the subway, you ride a system that needs repairs, doesn’t connect to enough neighborhoods, and frequently suffers breakdowns and delays. If you ride the commuter rail, you are plagued by limited schedules and unreliable service. If you get on the roads, you deal with the worst traffic congestion in the country.

The COVID-19 crisis cleared the traffic off our roads, and has presented us with a chance to re-evaluate transportation policy.

How do we make sure we don’t return to traffic armageddon? Here’s what I’ll fight for if elected your next State Representative on September 1.


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Public transit is a public good.

Fixing transportation policy in Massachusetts starts with centering public transportation as a public good – an investment we all make in making our communities healthier and more productive. Even if you never ride a bus or subway in your life, every transit rider is a car off the road, meaning less traffic and less pollution.

Treating public transit as a public good means clearing the multi-billion dollar backlog of repairs to the existing subway and commuter rail system. Every aspect of the MBTA system needs to be modernized and upgraded to make it work better and suffer less frequent delays.

While the Blue Line is the most reliable on the system, it still occasionally suffers catastrophic breakdowns. Whenever that happens, the backup and congestion through East Boston is a true nightmare, and a window into the traffic challenges we would face without a functioning T.


Better bus service. - The bus is the workhorse of the MBTA system, carrying over a million riders every single day. For some, the bus is how they get to work or get groceries. For others, the bus is their connection to the train in to Boston. Despite the bus’s importance, it is frequently overlooked. We need to invest in more frequent, reliable bus service, to help more people connect to the system even if they don’t live near the subway. This means bus lane pilot programs for routes in Revere, Chelsea and East Boston that frequently face delays and overcrowding, like the 111, 116, 117, and 450. Similar programs in Everett and in Boston have shaved minutes off of people’s trips and made them more reliable - increasing rider satisfaction.Given that the bus is frequently relied upon by low-income riders, we should also consider making the bus free. One estimate suggests that making the bus free would cost the T around $32 million in fare revenue - a tiny fraction of the $700 million overall they collect in fares, but enough to make a difference for low-income riders.We should also push to extend the Silver Line from downtown Chelsea in to downtown Revere, specifically the Broadway area. The Silver Line provides a reliable, frequent bus ride from Chelsea in to the bustling Seaport district and South Station area, connecting working people to jobs and opportunities. Extending this line in to Revere will help increase transit access for residents of the part of the city that can’t walk to the Blue Line.
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Better bus service.

The bus is the workhorse of the MBTA system, carrying over a million riders every single day. For some, the bus is how they get to work or get groceries. For others, the bus is their connection to the train in to Boston.

Despite the bus’s importance, it is frequently overlooked.

We need to invest in more frequent, reliable bus service, to help more people connect to the system even if they don’t live near the subway. This means bus lane pilot programs for routes in Revere, Chelsea and East Boston that frequently face delays and overcrowding, like the 111, 116, 117, and 450. Similar programs in Everett and in Boston have shaved minutes off of people’s trips and made them more reliable – increasing rider satisfaction.

Given that the bus is frequently relied upon by low-income riders, we should also consider making the bus free. One estimate suggests that making the bus free would cost the T around $32 million in fare revenue – a tiny fraction of the $700 million overall they collect in fares, but enough to make a difference for low-income riders.

We should also push to extend the Silver Line from downtown Chelsea in to downtown Revere, specifically the Broadway area. The Silver Line provides a reliable, frequent bus ride from Chelsea in to the bustling Seaport district and South Station area, connecting working people to jobs and opportunities. Extending this line in to Revere will help increase transit access for residents of the part of the city that can’t walk to the Blue Line.


Build the Blue-Red Connector. - The Blue and the Red Lines on the MBTA are the only two that don’t connect. This creates lots of unnecessary traffic, and cuts off residents of Revere, Chelsea and the North Shore from convenient access to jobs in Cambridge, in the Seaport, and on the South Shore. A blue/red connector would also create jobs in our communities by connecting commercial development here to a talented workforce all over Greater Boston, and help reduce vehicle traffic to Logan Airport, which regularly chokes Revere and East Boston. The Blue-Red connector was promised as part of the mitigation for the Big Dig project, but decades later, it still hasn’t happened. The state is conducting engineering and design feasibility studies, but the blue-red connector will need passionate advocates on Beacon Hill to become a reality.
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Build the Blue-Red Connector.

The Blue and the Red Lines on the MBTA are the only two that don’t connect. This creates lots of unnecessary traffic, and cuts off residents of Revere, Chelsea and the North Shore from convenient access to jobs in Cambridge, in the Seaport, and on the South Shore.

A blue/red connector would also create jobs in our communities by connecting commercial development here to a talented workforce all over Greater Boston, and help reduce vehicle traffic to Logan Airport, which regularly chokes Revere and East Boston.

The Blue-Red connector was promised as part of the mitigation for the Big Dig project, but decades later, it still hasn’t happened. The state is conducting engineering and design feasibility studies, but the blue-red connector will need passionate advocates on Beacon Hill to become a reality.


Transforming the commuter rail into a true Regional Rail system. - The MBTA Commuter Rail is not an effective or reliable form of transportation unless you’re one of a small and shrinking subset of people who can reliably take one train at rush hour in the morning and another in the evening. The trains run only a few times a day, only connect to one part of Boston, and are often unreliable.We can reimagine this system and turn it in to a true regional rail network, that runs frequently, all-day, on tracks that already exist. Imagine what it would do to reduce traffic, increase access to jobs, and make housing more affordable if every community along the commuter rail corridor had access to a train that ran every 20 minutes, with clean, reliable, electric engines?Imagine if the commuter rail also connected to Wonderland station - allowing riders up the North Shore to quickly connect to the Blue Line and access the rest of the MBTA system, and allowing Revere and Chelsea residents to connect to transit service up to Salem and beyond?Imagine if we connected North and South Stations on the regional network, allowing residents on the North Shore to get to jobs or recreation on the South Shore?Every morning at the Wonderland garage, over 20% of the cars parked there are from Lynn, and even more are from points north. But the commuter rail isn’t effectively serving them. We can take these cars off our roads and reduce traffic along the beach by making train service from Lynn reliable and affordable. We can do this by transforming our commuter rail system.
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Transforming the commuter rail into a true Regional Rail system.

The MBTA Commuter Rail is not an effective or reliable form of transportation unless you’re one of a small and shrinking subset of people who can reliably take one train at rush hour in the morning and another in the evening. The trains run only a few times a day, only connect to one part of Boston, and are often unreliable.

We can reimagine this system and turn it in to a true regional rail network, that runs frequently, all-day, on tracks that already exist. Imagine what it would do to reduce traffic, increase access to jobs, and make housing more affordable if every community along the commuter rail corridor had access to a train that ran every 20 minutes, with clean, reliable, electric engines?

Imagine if the commuter rail also connected to Wonderland station – allowing riders up the North Shore to quickly connect to the Blue Line and access the rest of the MBTA system, and allowing Revere and Chelsea residents to connect to transit service up to Salem and beyond?

Imagine if we connected North and South Stations on the regional network, allowing residents on the North Shore to get to jobs or recreation on the South Shore?

Every morning at the Wonderland garage, over 20% of the cars parked there are from Lynn, and even more are from points north. But the commuter rail isn’t effectively serving them. We can take these cars off our roads and reduce traffic along the beach by making train service from Lynn reliable and affordable. We can do this by transforming our commuter rail system.


Road repairs:  While investing in public transportation is the most efficient and environmentally-friendly way to tackle our traffic woes, we also can’t forget the role of investing in surface transportation. Our system of bridges, roads, and highways needs billions of dollars of work just to get up to a state of good repair. - Rideshare regulations: The average resident of Massachusetts drove 30% more miles per person in 2017 than they did in 1981. A number of factors have led to this, including changing commuting patterns, underinvestment in public transportation, and increased traffic to Logan Airport.An additional factor is the explosive expansion of ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft. Rideshare vehicles have not only pulled people away from public transit, they’ve also added to miles traveled and tailpipe emissions from when they circle city streets without passengers in between trips. While Uber and Lyft have been a useful tool for people without personal vehicles, it’s clear that regulations need to be updated.An increase in rideshare fees to invest in public transit, and smarter regulations around where and how often these services can operate, can help ease traffic challenges.
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Road repairs:

While investing in public transportation is the most efficient and environmentally-friendly way to tackle our traffic woes, we also can’t forget the role of investing in surface transportation. Our system of bridges, roads, and highways needs billions of dollars of work just to get up to a state of good repair.

Rideshare regulations:

The average resident of Massachusetts drove 30% more miles per person in 2017 than they did in 1981. A number of factors have led to this, including changing commuting patterns, underinvestment in public transportation, and increased traffic to Logan Airport.

An additional factor is the explosive expansion of ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft. Rideshare vehicles have not only pulled people away from public transit, they’ve also added to miles traveled and tailpipe emissions from when they circle city streets without passengers in between trips. While Uber and Lyft have been a useful tool for people without personal vehicles, it’s clear that regulations need to be updated.

An increase in rideshare fees to invest in public transit, and smarter regulations around where and how often these services can operate, can help ease traffic challenges.

Our transportation crisis doesn’t just make our commutes worse: it drives up housing costs in places like Revere and Chelsea because so few communities have reliable access to jobs in Boston. It also exacerbates environmental challenges, as gridlock traffic is terrible for pollution levels.

If we don’t address our transportation crisis, our economy will suffer when jobs and talent move to other, more affordable regions that don’t suffer from crushing commutes.

The good news is that we don’t have to reinvent the wheel (or the locomotive). All we have to do is invest in what we know works: frequent, reliable service. But to do this, we need leadership that understands the nature of our transportation crisis and how we can fix it. ‘

I understand the nature of our transportation crisis, because I’ve lived it, commuting on the T for years, and joining groups like TransitMatters in advocating for better policies and better service.

I will fight for the changes we need to improve transportation in Revere, Chelsea, Saugus, and throughout Massachusetts if elected on September 1.

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