Lowell Sun | By LETTERS TO THE EDITOR | February 11, 2021
The governor’s recent decision to veto desperately needed transportation legislation was the wrong choice, and one that will slow our efforts to recover from the pandemic. And while lawmakers will need to refile legislation to move these essential transit policies forward, we are not starting from scratch. (Lawmakers starting from scratch on transportation priorities, Feb. 4).
The same issues that plagued our transportation system before the pandemic — road congestion, outdated public infrastructure, inequities to access, and rising costs — will be here as we reopen and will continue to hamper our communities and workforce in the months and years ahead. We should be ramping up our efforts to address these issues, not using the pandemic as a shortsighted excuse to slow them down.
Implementing a strategy to address the MBTA’s repair backlog, investing in new and proven solutions like bus rapid transit, moving ahead with congestion pricing that can raise revenue and reduce traffic, pursuing policies that encourage transit-oriented development, and focusing on equity of access and service quality, including means-tested fares, should all be high priority items for the legislature as well as the Baker administration.
We can’t afford to wait on making bold and smart investments in our transportation that will be essential to our recovery and key to creating a more sustainable and equitable future for our Commonwealth. We look forward to seeing the Legislature bring these issues back to the forefront with the urgency they deserve in the coming weeks.
Jennifer Benson is president of the Alliance for Business Leadership and a former state representative