End Gridlock Traffic by Investing in Public Transportation
Massachusetts commuters waste hours every day in gridlock traffic. From failing public transportation to the worst commuter rail in the country, people cannot get from place to place. Traffic is fixable, and here’s how we’ll do it.
1. Fix Broken Infrastructure and Create Walkable Communities
We must fix our crumbling infrastructure. In Massachusetts alone, nearly 500 bridges have been deemed structurally deficient. Furthermore, the legacy of the “urban renewal” movement has left poor communities less safe for pedestrians than their affluent counterparts. Low income and rural communities are less likely to have sidewalks, trees, lighting and other amenities that make walking and cycling safe.
Too often, when new roadways or transit infrastructure are built in many communities, they do not include adequate sidewalks or amenities. As we repair our infrastructure, we must do so in a way that benefits all communities
We must fix our broken infrastructure. Here’s what I propose:
- Restart the accelerated bridge program and commit to repairing all structurally deficient bridges in Massachusetts.
- Fund regional efforts to repair local roads.
- Prioritize the construction of safe pedestrian infrastructure, including sidewalks and lighting in all communities.
- Ensure that all new roadway projects are built with sidewalks and bike infrastructure where appropriate.
- Develop a statewide plan to implement Vision Zero in Massachusetts: A year with zero traffic, bicycle or pedestrian fatalities across the Commonwealth.
- Develop a plan to proactively regulate self-driving vehicles.
- Prioritize the implementation of positive train control regardless of whether the Trump Administration waives the requirement or not.
2. Build Regional Rail and Ferry Services
East-West Rail. South Coast Rail. The Blue Line Extension. The North-South Rail Link. The Indigo Line. These are all critical projects which will connect people to good jobs and affordable housing.
South Coast Rail will connect Boston with Fall River and New Bedford. The Blue Line extension will help extend the booming Boston economy to Lynn. The North-South Rail Link will connect disparate transit lines into North Station and South Station, making public transportation in Boston more equitable and efficient. The Indigo Line will provide rapid transit service–like the red, orange, green, and blue lines–to Dorchester, Mattapan, and Hyde Park.
We must ensure that everyone, no matter where they live, has a reasonable commute to a good job. Here’s what I propose:
- Build a high-speed rail line connecting Boston and Western Massachusetts.
- Build a commuter rail line connecting the South Coast with Boston.
- Transform the Fairmont line into the Indigo Line by passing Representative Evandro Carvalho’s bill “An Act Establishing a Rapid Transportation Pilot for the Fairmount Corridor” and send it to the Governor’s desk for a signature immediately. This line must run at service levels enjoyed by T riders in other Boston neighborhoods.
- Extend the Blue Line to Lynn and reopen the Lynn Ferry Terminal. This will ease congestion on Route 1 and drastically decrease commute times between Lynn and Boston.
- Build the North-South Rail Link so that commuters have a direct line between North and South Station.
- Work with communities to develop targeted anti-displacement strategies in parallel with the inauguration of new service. Transportation investments, particularly in low-income areas, must be built for the existing community.
3. Invest in the MBTA and Green Regional Transit Authorities
In Massachusetts, The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) and 15 Regional Transit Authorities (RTAs) provide bus, subway, ferry, and commuter rail services to residents across the Commonwealth. For years, however, they have been neglected and underfunded. This has resulted in further deterioration of already inadequate MBTA and RTA service. In Greater Boston, the T experiences constant breakdowns and delays. In Greater Springfield, the PVTA plans to implement $3 million in cuts to an already underfunded system.
We must ensure that residents have access to reliable public transportation. Here’s what I propose:
- Fully fund the MBTA and RTAs at a level allowing reliable service. This means opposing privatization of the MBTA and restoring the Pacheco Law, which establishes standards and criteria for any state effort to privatize services.
- Ensure that the MBTA and RTAs are accessible across the board for seniors and people with disabilities.
- Develop a strategy to ensure that the operations of the MBTA and the RTAs are aligned with the needs of all residents in their communities by inviting riders into the decision making process.
- Ensure that communities located between RTAs are not left out. RTAs should be connected with statewide transportation services.
- Create a new MassDOT fund to assist the MBTA and RTAs in funding non-peak hour service over regular state contract assistance in order to ensure that riders have the flexibility to get where they need to go.
- Identify and scale innovative microtransit models such as the Quaboag Connector to more efficiently meet the needs of rural residents.
- Ensure that Massachusetts is investing in green transportation. That means electric busses and other vehicles.