Pressley, Clark, Mass. Lawmakers Push Commonwealth for Answers on MBTA Cuts

March 17, 2021
Press Release
Cuts Come After Federal Government Approved Over $1 Billion For Mass Transit Funding in American Rescue Plan
 

Text of Letter (PDF)

WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) and Assistant Speaker Katherine Clark (MA-05) along with the Massachusetts Congressional Delegation, including Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Edward Markey (D-MA), and Representatives Richard Neal (MA-1), James P. McGovern (MA-2),  Lori Trahan (MA-3), Jake Auchincloss (MA-4), Seth Moulton (MA-6), Ayanna Pressley (MA-7), Stephen F. Lynch (MA-8), and William Keating (MA-9), sent a letter to the MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak expressing concerns regarding the MBTA’s service cuts that began this week.

This is the delegation’s second letter requesting an explanation for the cuts following an initial request sent in December 2020 and follows the enactment of the American Rescue Plan Act, which provides Massachusetts over $1 billion in mass transit funding.

Congresswoman Pressley also submitted a public comment letter to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s Fiscal Control and Management Board in December 2020 expressing her strong opposition to the Board’s proposed cuts to transit service in the Commonwealth.

“We have yet to receive a reply to our request for information justifying the level of service cuts the MBTA has implemented. Moreover, since our original letter, Congress has secured over $250 million for the MBTA, and the American Rescue Plan will provide an estimated $1 billion in additional transit funding to the Commonwealth,” wrote the lawmakers. “We urge you to provide evidence that justifies decreased service despite this robust federal relief, as we previously requested, or immediately reverse the recent service cuts, which disproportionately harm essential workers and low-income communities who rely on the MBTA for commutes and access to critical services.”

“We consider mass transit to be a public good, a vital tool for combatting climate change, and an integral part of our post-COVID recovery,” the Members continued. “As such, we again request that the MBTA provide clear evidence demonstrating the continued need for this degree of service reduction in light of the significant federal assistance the Authority has received. Finally, we hope you can reassure us that the federal assistance Congress has provided will be used to completely restore any and all service cuts as soon as possible.”

The full letter is available here.

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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