The service delays and interruptions we’ve seen in recent years on the MBTA, stem from decades of underfunding. It’s unacceptable and it’s unsafe. Between 1977 and 2009 Massachusetts has cut more taxes than any other state in the country. That means we have 3 billion dollars less each year than we had in the late 1990s to fund transportation and public services. These austerity measures have resulted in a $7 billion repair backlog for the MBTA. With all of the losses caused by tax cuts, it’s no wonder that the trains don’t run on time.
We’re being told that privatization is the only way to fix what’s broken. The problem is, while private companies promise to increase efficiency and reduce costs, the reality is often far from that. Cities like Chicago and London have learned the hard way that privatization can result in increased fares, and a decline in the quality of service. While privatization advocates say “competition” will keep quality high while reducing costs, the truth is once you award a contract to a private company there is no competition and little accountability when something goes wrong. Here in Massachusetts:
We’ve already faced problems with Keolis, the for-profit commuter rail operator, that has burdened the Commonwealth and taxpayers with controversial cost overruns. Following the blizzards in 2015, Keolis was fined 1.7 million dollars, but instead of holding them accountable the Baker Administration just forgave over $800,000 in fines.
A recent investigative report by the Boston Globe also revealed that in past year the Green Line had the largest number of derailments of any light rail in the country. The Globe report indicates a lack of transparency around how the information was handles by officials who have argued in favor of privatization and against robust investments to improve public transit.
Meanwhile, the MBTA just authorized nearly 1 million dollars for consultants McKinsey & Co. to explore privatization options. And emails uncovered by The Globe demonstrate troubling coordination between the administration and the vendor with the largest private contract in the state who they are tasked with holding accountable as well as potential undue influence over privatization efforts in education.
Massachusetts workers and riders agree that the time to invest in public transit is now. The MBTA should continue to make improvements to current operations, but that cannot distract from the greater need to invest in public transit for riders, workers, and our communities.
The long term costs of sweeping privatization are often higher than expected – as has been demonstrated in cities across the nation and the globe. Let’s keep public transportation public –and invest in a stronger future for riders, workers, and the Massachusetts economy.
That means ending the austerity budgets that have had painful consequences for riders, workers and our communities. Join us in telling public officials that the time to invest in our public transportation is now.
We must INVEST NOW to achieve:
MODERN, RELIABLE PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION that supports Boston’s dynamic economy, growing workforce, and important role as a world-class city.
SAFE TRANSPORTATION that riders and our communities can trust every time they step aboard without exceptions.
EQUITABLE PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION ACCESS to ensure that service expansions bring opportunity and economic development to under-served communities.
QUALITY JOBS that can sustain a family, contribute to our local economy, and play a role in reducing the extreme levels of income inequality in our state.
DEVELOPMENT of MBTA land and property that benefit our communities, not just developers, by creating good jobs and affordable housing.
TRANSPARENCY for MBTA bidding and contracting, including restored taxpayer and worker protections under the Pacheco law to prevent wasteful privatization schemes and insider dealing.
New Analysis: Greater Boston Residents Driving Fewer Miles, Making More Trips via Transit, Walking, Biking | Metropolitan Area Planning Council – January 1, 2017
How Privatization Increases Inequality | In the Public Interest – September 28, 2016
It’s Time for States To Invest in Infrastructure | Center on Budget and Policy Priorities – February 23, 2016
Building a Strong Economy: The Roles of Education, Transportation and Tax Policy | Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center – January 15, 2016
An Illusion of Success: The Consequences of British Rail Privatisation | Accounting Forum – March 2015
Riders speak up as MBTA probes equity of bus, rail service | Dorchester Reporter – December 29, 2016
CRRC Springfield plant might do train car maintenance for MBTA, too | MassLive.com – December 29, 2016
Commuters save more than $1,000/month by choosing MBTA over cars | Mass Transit Magazine – December 25, 2016
T board criticized for secret talks on $280m deal | The Boston Globe – December 17, 2016
Evans: Outsourcing at the MBTA | The MetroWest Daily News – December 10, 2016
Panel, report decry push for privatization in Massachusetts | The Bay State Banner – November 30, 2016
Time to rethink the role for for-profits in public services | Taunton Gazette – November 26, 2016
MBTA secrecy obvious in abysmal appeals record | Muckrock – November 24, 2016
Lang: Keolis was on verge of walking away | Commonwealth Magazine – November 10, 2016
MBTA eyes short-term, long-term fixes for Orange Line | Dorchester Reporter – November 10, 2016
Central Square center of an MBTA protest | Itemlive – November 10, 2016
MBTA Tech Chief Still Owns Stake in Bridj | Boston Magazine – November 2, 2016
Legislators slam state transportation officials | The Boston Globe – November 2, 2016
City Council concerned more MBTA privatization could lead to discriminatory service | Metro – November 2, 2016
MBTA in talks with private company for late-night city transit | Boston Herald – October 31, 2016
E-mails show Gov. Baker’s political consultant wields influence on commuter rail, charter schools | The Boston Globe – October 25, 2016
Congressman Michael Capuano asks Department of Justice to review Fairmount Line for civil rights violations | The Boston Globe – October 24, 2016
Labor bosses: Charlie Baker cuts ‘beyond the bone’ | Boston Herald – October 15, 2016
What Happens When an Ayn Rand Devotee Runs a Public School System? Just Ask Chicago. | In These Times – October 14, 2016
An MBTA privatization do-over? | CommonWealth Magazine – October 13, 2016
Green Line suffered little-noticed string of derailments over past two years | The Boston Globe – October 13, 2016
SF gets $11 million federal grants for transit, pedestrian safety | Mass Transit Magazine – October 13, 2016
Union-Backing Democrats Fear Baker Will Use The MBTA Privatization Powers They Gave Him | WGBH News – October 12, 2016
MBTA turns to Brink’s to run ‘money room,’ looks to cut 72 jobs | Boston Herald – October 5, 2016
Examples of How City Services Privatization Leads to Inequality Are Piling Up | Next City – September 29, 2016
When Public Schools Go Private | The American Prospect – September 28, 2016
Booming Transport Sector Means More Middle-Class Jobs | Next City – September 26, 2016
Aloisi responds to Gonneville | CommonWealth Magazine – September 18, 2016
The Right-Wing Assault on Public Colleges and Higher Education | Moyers & Company – September 8, 2016
MBTA wants to outsource emergency dispatching system | The Boston Globe – July 19, 2016
US urged to probe Chinese company building MBTA subway cars | The Boston Globe – July 19, 2016
When you dial 911 and Wall Street answers | The New York Times – June 25, 2016
MBTA to give police dispatch duty to private firm | The Enterprise – June 18, 2016
Aiello: One of T’s biggest challenges is workforce | CommonWealth Magazine – June 7, 2016
Deadline passes for Salem County privatization plan to be put into motion | NJ.com – June 7, 2016
Bids are in for possible Salem County privatization. What’s next? | NJ.com – May 15, 2016
When Consultants Reign | Jacobin – May 9, 2016
Ex-T boss collecting $98G pension, now working for transit contractor | Boston Herald – April 29, 2016
MBTA changes course, won’t charge for info on new hires | Boston Herald – December 18, 2015
Boston bus operator Bridj drops its monthly pass option | Beta Boston, The Boston Globe – December 5, 2015
4 Lingering Questions After Scathing MBTA Report | WBUR News – April 10, 2015
MBTA is staring down a financial paradox | The Boston Globe – March 9, 2015
Why Chicago’s Botched Parking Meter Privatization Is Also Bad for the Environment | Next City – June 4, 2014
The Privatization Backlash | The Atlantic – April 23, 2014
MA: Greystone and JLL Win Joint Bid to Provide Real Estate Services to MBTA and MassDOT from Greystone Management | Mass Transit Magazine – April 10, 2014
Six Things to Know About the Nation’s Much-Heralded Transit Growth | Next City – March 11, 2014
Masters of Manipulation | Shepherd Express – November 27, 2013
Why Private Contractors Are Lousy At Public Services | Bloomberg Businessweek – October 28, 2013
Sweatshops on Wheels: This is What Privatizing Public Transit Looks Like | Occupy.com – April 17, 2013
We’ve Got a Lot of Work to Do, So Let’s Do It Right | In the Public Interest
Victory! ACLU celebrates public records reform | ACLU Massachusetts – June, 2015
Privatized Transit and (or vs.) The Public Good | Human Transit – February 5, 2010
TRU: The T Riders Union | Alternatives for Community & Environment (ACE)
Public Records Requests – MassDOT
Public Records Requests – MBTA