The MBTA, facing a deficit of $160 million in the next fiscal year, outlined both fare hikes and service cuts in an internal document leaked to the Globe. The document outlined the service cuts, which would be considerable. Bus service would be cut by half after 8 p.m. and on weekends, and commuter rail service would be eliminated after 7 p.m. and on weekends. Fares would be hiked substantially. As the Legislature continues to work on transportation reform we inch closer to financial meltdown, with no plan in sight to bridge this gap, or the other gaping holes that are being blown in budgets throughout the state. The Governor’s gas tax proposal would have dedicated 6 cents to the MBTA to fund this shortfall. It appears highly unlikely that the MBTA will get 6 cents out of any gas tax proposal coming from the legislature, leaving some or all of this situation unresolved even after revenues are dealt with.
The Globe also detailed, in a separate story, the MBTA’s hiring of four “retired” individuals, who are collecting full MBTA pensions, but are eligible for “consulting” contracts that are not limited by those pensions. So they are able to collect a full pension, return to the job they retired from, and collect another full salary via “consulting” payments. The MBTA has terminated these contracts after the Globe inquiry.
Without a change in course the services that have come to be expected are about to disappear. And that will not just be at the MBTA, it will be all over the Commonwealth. Get ready for the House Ways and Means Budget set to be unveiled next Wednesday. It will be a shocker!