South Shore Chamber update on MBTA proposed service cuts
The MBTA proposed a series of transit cuts earlier this month in an attempt to answer some budget shortfalls due to a decrease in revenue and ridership. These proposed cuts affect Ferry Service in Hingham & Hull, as well as some bus and commuter rail service in the region.
The proposed MBTA service cuts could impact far more people and interests than simply the individual riders of ferries, buses, and trains. Some of the proposals threaten the region’s economic future. Municipalities, developers, businesses, and homeowners have planned, invested, or located around long-term transit assets.
The South Shore Chamber of Commerce has been engaged in dozens of public and private discussions with state and local officials as well as residents and businesses. The Chamber recognizes the financial pressure on the MBTA during the COVID-19 slowdown when people have been asked to stay at home. However, we are also looking to the recovery. We are concerned that deep cuts or elimination of services during a slowdown may mean no services during the recovery. Mass-transit services are not easily reinstated once capital and personnel changes are made.
The Chamber has submitted a formal statement to the MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board. The FMCB will be making their decisions in the next few weeks.
Chamber's advocacy efforts
On November 17th, organized and led meeting with Joe Aiello, Fiscal and Management Control Board Chair for the MBTA with 50 + regional leaders, stakeholders, local officials.
Submission of an official letter to MBTA outlining concerns. See link to full letter.
Creation of member sign-on letter. Chamber members can support our position and express concern by reading and signing the letter via the link provided.
Dr. Mark Melnick of The Donahue Institute spoke at our Economic Outlook breakfast co-sponsored with Envision Bank. We are pleased to share his presentation which included some nice comparisons on how the South Shore stacks up with the rest of the state on key economic factors. It validated some of our work on South Shore 2030 to make the region economically stronger. We were particularly impressed with three slides:
I attended a briefing for business groups with Secretary of Transportation Stephanie Pollack. We tend to focus a lot our transportation attention on the MBTA and major highways. My meeting was a good reminder of how much depends on local roads and bus services.
More people are served by buses than rail lines. As the Secretary noted we need to pay more attention to bus service but almost every improvement from changing a stop, creating bus lanes, or having necessary curb cuts for stops all require partnership with local communities.
Our own work for regional development is now moving more toward local transportation needs to travel within the region rather than just the commute into and out of Boston.