In Monday’s The Daily Free Press, my fellow students and I were encouraged to vote yes on Question 1 or to “skip the question altogether.” Voting yes or not voting at all are reckless ideas.
We came to Massachusetts to go to school here, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be good stewards of our community. We have a responsibility to vote and to be informed when we cast our ballot.
Here is what you should know:
Question 1 poses a public safety threat to residents of Massachusetts because 87 percent of the Commonwealth’s roads are in poor or mediocre condition and over half of the bridges are functionally obsolete or structurally deficient. Even for those of us who don’t drive, that’s a problem because our buses, ambulances and fire trucks drive over the same roads that are unsafe today.
Question 1 puts $1 billion for repairs and maintenance at risk. This is money that is also used to invest in our public transportation system. Even without a driver’s license, Question 1 affects us. The most obvious example is the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Green Line, which is a lifeline for students, staff and faculty. Without funding to improve the Green Line, there’s more pressure on the MBTA to increase fares. This is the kind of thing that a yes vote, or abstaining altogether, means for BU.
Finally, regardless of how we use our transportation system as students, we all have a responsibility to our environment. The transportation sector is the number one source of greenhouse gas emissions. We need to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and make smarter transportation investments. But those investments require reliable funding.
Gas tax indexing will cost the average driver $5 a year. And it was something the Massachusetts legislature passed after 20 years of underfunding the transportation system. Most other taxes in Massachusetts increase with inflation because that’s the only way to keep up with rising costs. Without indexing, we can’t be sure Massachusetts will have the kind of future that it deserves. Even if we only have four years here, we have a responsibility to invest in the Commonwealth.
– Alexandra Blankman, College of Arts and Sciences Sophomore