December 4, 2020
Rep. Pressley Urges MBTA Against Proposed Cuts to Transit Service
WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) today submitted a public comment letter to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s Fiscal Control and Management Board expressing her strong opposition to the Board’s proposed cuts to transit service in the Commonwealth. The Congresswoman’s advocacy comes as the public comment period on the MBTA’s proposed cuts is set to close on Monday, December 7.
“Public transit is and always has been an essential public good. For many of our most vulnerable neighbors, our public transit system is the only way to access healthcare, get to and from jobs, and buy groceries and other goods,” the Congresswoman wrote. “To deny communities access to these critical transit services in the midst of this crisis would be catastrophic.”
Congresswoman Pressley joins public transit advocates and community members across the Massachusetts 7th Congressional District in opposing the cuts, which would disproportionately impact low-income riders—many of whom are essential workers—and hinder our public transit system’s vital role in any long-term economic recovery for the Commonwealth. Last month, she spoke out against the proposed cuts at a rally hosted by transit activists and local elected officials.
In her letter, the Congresswoman acknowledged the devastating impact of COVID-19 on transit agencies across the country but urged the Board against cutting services and laying off workers. She also acknowledged that the federal response from the Trump Administration has failed Massachusetts and assured the Board that she is fighting daily for long-overdue relief both with colleagues in Congress and in partnership with the incoming Biden-Harris Administration.
“At this time, the MBTA’s goal must be to provide consistent and reliable services so that riders—many of whom are essential workers serving on the frontlines— are able to travel as safely as possible while taking precautions and remaining physically distant,” the Congresswoman continued. “The MBTA must continue prioritizing the needs of residents today while policymakers do the much-needed work to fight for federal and state funds in the weeks and months to come.”
The Congresswoman requested that the MBTA abandon proposed plans to make permanent or long-term service cuts, commit to advancing affordability for all transit riders, and ensure plans for critical transformative capital investments, climate justice, and air quality improvements moving forward in 2021 and beyond.
In October 2019, Congresswoman Pressley founded the Future of Transportation Caucus, a Congressional caucus focused on centering equity, access, and sustainability in our transportation systems. In June, in response to the COVID-19 crisis, she led a letter advocating for $50 billion in annual emergency funds to support and sustain our nations public transit systems. Later that month, she introduced the Freedom to Move Act, which would provide federal grants to transit agencies that move to a fare-free model. Rep. Pressley is also a co-chair of the Congressional Bike Caucus and a tireless advocate for sustainable and equity focused transportation and infrastructure policies.
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