Editorial, Opinion

STAFF EDIT: MBTA spending off track

Whenever there is a snowstorm in Boston, as there was Monday, city of Boston officials urge those who need to get around the city to use public transportation. Even when Mother Nature is not wreaking havoc on the daily commute, the T is the only method of transportation for many students and residents of Boston because owning a car in the city is pointless, and taking taxis gets too expensive.

Although services that the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority provides are essential, the financial management of the MBTA has been abysmal. In addition to having ‘the largest debt of any Transit Authority,’ according to the State Auditor’s office, the MBTA has been unable to stay within its own budget in paying for the automated fare collection system.

When the economy is in a recession and many state agencies are having budget woes, the cost of mismanagement becomes even greater. The MBTA should be looking to trim its budget for the Charlie Card system in any way possible, instead of going over it by $15 million.

Last month, Mass. Transportation Secretary James A. Aloisi Jr. forecasted a possible 20 percent to 25 percent fare increase for MBTA services. But what’s even worse is that Aloisi believes that accompanying these dramatic fare increases would be cuts in service, including a 50 percent cut in evening subway and commuter rail service. The T has cleanliness issues, delays and stops running early enough as it is. If the MBTA is going to raise fares, it should be for the purpose of improving customer service. It is appalling to think that Bostonians may have to pay more to cover the MBTA’s mismanagement of its debt while losing services.

There are many questions about how the MBTA could have possibly overspent so much on a system that is supposed to be saving the MBTA and its riders money. The MBTA must be upfront with the city about its debt issues and ensure that customers’ money will not be wasted again.

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