Everywhere I visit in Massachusetts, I hear people’s deep frustration and unhappiness with about transportation. Whether you are on the North or the South Shore, whether you are trying to create a business near a gateway city, whether you are stuck in traffic for nearly two hours to go 40 miles, whether you are a single mom trying to get your child to daycare and then to your job on an unreliable bus, whether you would like to live in Springfield or Worcester and commute quickly to Boston, you are in trouble. That means we, as a state, must face and fix our flaws.
This kind of crisis cannot be solved by small, baby-step approaches. We need a bold plan for creating a world-class transportation system for Massachusetts. That plan will include a series of immediate improvements and a larger list of major transformations of our infrastructure. It will also include changes for how we do business and how we are accountable to the public.
We cannot build a strong future economy without safe, modern transportation. Our poor transportation system undermines our prosperity, promotes inequality, and limits opportunity, especially for our already disadvantaged gateway communities. The Baker administration has done little other than outsource projects and operations, shuffle management, squeeze labor agreements and adopt low-cost but wasteful, patchwork, temporary improvements. And the T is still burdened with the costs of the Big Dig, thanks to Charlie Baker. Most places use fees on gas, cars, and road help to pay for public transportation. In Massachusetts, ridiculously we make public transportation users pay for our cars. Yet, Baker has no plan to change that, other than to suggest we should wait for 15-20 years for the MBTA to be in good order, 22 years before we think about West Station, and decades for everything else. Kicking the can down the decaying roadway is a Charlie Baker specialty.
We can build a 21st-century, fast, reliable, and clean transportation system that allows our economy to grow and all our communities to thrive.
AS GOVERNOR I WILL:
- Lay the groundwork for world-class public transportation, with improved planning, adequate funding, transparent contracting, and better project oversight.
Address broken funding structures and past funding mistakes, like the placement of highway debt burden on the MBTA.
Take responsibility for the state’s transportation obligations, ending and reversing privatization efforts to reassert control over operations and repairs, and deliver better performance.
Deliver world-class public transit with investments to achieve that level of service, well beyond the current minimal and unachieved goal of a state of “good repair.”
Stop patchwork wasteful projects, including the wrong schemes for South Station Expansion and the diesel-hauled (non-electrified) South Coast Rail route.
Move ahead with major projects including the North-South Rail Link (NSRL), the electric South Coast rail, electrification of the Commuter Rail system, the Blue Line - Red Line connection, West Station, and the Grand Junction connection.
Speed up service and increase frequency on East-West rail services immediately and start planning for fast trains to Albany with a new Pittsfield rail tunnel.
Commit to electrifying the rest of our transportation system with battery electric buses and new incentives for electric cars and trucks.
Enact shared streets policies across the Commonwealth to speed up bus services and provide safe bike lanes and sidewalks.
- Increase the planning capacities of state transportation agencies and ensure that all projects are reviewed for consistency with long term goals.