In The News: Transportation

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MTF report: Give Baker control over 'broken' MBTA

Mar 12 2015

By Matt Murphy, State House News Service / The Lowell Sun

"We know the T is broken, but we don't know just how broken," said MTF President Eileen McAnneny in a statement. "We also know that past reform efforts have not brought stability. Despite understandable public frustration, we should resist seemingly simple fixes until we have a far clearer and more accurate assessment of what needs to be fixed, which the T itself is unable to provide at this time."
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Report says MBTA financial system ‘off the rails’

Mar 11 2015

By David Scharfenberg, The Boston Globe

“What we’re suggesting is that the problems facing the T are so pervasive that it’s not the case that marginal reforms or biting around the edges will work,” said Eileen McAnneny, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation. “It will require a fundamental change to how the T operates.”
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MBTA considers free fare week, refunds after brutal winter commutes

Mar 11 2015

WCVB

Meanwhile, in a 55-page report, the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation is urging the state to stall funding for MBTA expansion projects, commission an independent audit of its finances and allow for more privatization of services. The watchdog group said the state should halt investment into the system until it gets a clear picture of the agency's problems.
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Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation offers recommendations for improving MBTA

Mar 11 2015

By Eric Convey, Boston Business Journal

The MBTA needs to put the brakes on expansion and overhaul some of its financial operations, the business-backed Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation said in a report released today.
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Baker: MBTA needs $65M hike in subsidies

Mar 4 2015

AP / Lawrence Eagle Tribune

The Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, a budget watchdog group, has said the state could face a $1.5 billion budget gap.
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Communities value the T, but who pays?

Feb 19 2015

By Dante Ramos, The Boston Globe

Yet rising property values don’t translate into more revenue to keep the system functioning. Instead, the contributions that the T receives from the cities and towns it serves are shrinking as a percentage of the agency’s operating budget, according to the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, from 14 percent in 2001 to 8 percent in 2015. The seeming impossibility of seeking more from the 175 Eastern Massachusetts municipalities that qualify helps explain why the T’s financial woes persist year after year.
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Cops still roll in detail dough

Dec 8 2014

By Richard Weir, The Boston Herald

“Police details are expensive, which is why there have been efforts, largely futile, to move towards less expensive civilian flaggers,” said Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation. “But that experiment has largely failed. The reality is that police details are built deeply into the fabric of Massachusetts government and taxpayers pay a price for that.
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Transportation advocates worry Massachusetts gas tax indexing repeal will delay needed road and rail projects

Nov 11 2014

By Shira Schoenberg, Masslive

Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, a fiscal policy think tank, said the impact of the repeal will be huge. "There's is no way that many of the long-term projects that the Patrick administration has on the table can now be funded," Widmer said. "It will be up to the new administration to make a series of very tough choices because they're going to find out quickly enough they don't have enough money to fund basic maintenance of roads and bridges, never mind expansion."
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Transit officials say repeal could cost $1b over decade

Nov 6 2014

By Nicole Dungca, The Boston Globe

Michael J. Widmer, president of the Taxpayers Foundation, who helped campaign against the repeal, said the vote could have serious long-term consequences for transportation funding that was given a boost last year. “When one looks at all of the various initiatives that this administration and others have put forward over the long-term, this will have an enormous impact on the state’s ability to fund those projects,” he said.

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2 Perspectives On Question 1: Eliminating Massachusetts Gas Tax Indexing

Oct 28 2014

By Sacha Pfeiffer, Radio Boston

Michael Widmer: “This is a traditional form of taxation, namely adjusting it to inflation…When you get a cost of living increase, you pay more in income tax… This happens to be tied to cents rather than percents, but the distinction is meaningless. This is a very common form of taxation. Let me put it in context: the last time the gas tax was raised, before 2013, it was increased to 21 cents in 1991. By 2013, that was worth 12 cents because of the loss of purchasing power. Now obviously, we can’t maintain our roads and bridges, and we have road and bridges that are unsafe, in poor condition, and in public transit as well.”
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