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Proposed MBTA Reductions a Terrible Blow to Sustainable Community

By Bob Andrews and Sue Felshin

The Town of Concord, along with ConcordCAN, and many other local organizations have been working hard to build more sustainability into our community. We want to be a community that is mindful in all that we do of the impact that current decisions and actions have on the natural environment, each other, and future generations. The recent proposal by the MBTA to sharply curtail their public transportation services and to substantially increase their rates is a terrible blow to the progress that we are making!

Accessibility and affordability of public transportation are vital to sustainability, energy conservation, and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Public transit is one of the most energy-efficient ways to travel. In sustainable communities we see more and more people riding bikes, walking, and using public transportation

This MBTA proposal will increase automobile traffic, leading to more congested local roads and public highways and to more air pollution from idling cars stuck in traffic jams. It will slash transit services when what we really need is to increase them. It will harm Concord’s local businesses whose employees and visitors use the trains for transportation. On weekends, Concord folks won’t be able to visit Boston by train, nor tourists visit Concord by train; either they’ll stay away and hurt business, or they’ll drive and add to our traffic and parking problems. Private boarding school students who currently take the train will be stuck at school on weekends, or they’ll get their parents to drive them around.

Whether you care about the traffic, our air, the ability to take the train, global climate change, our local businesses, commercial tax base, or equity for non-drivers, this is an issue we need to speak out about!

We believe that governmental action is needed to ensure the survival and future growth of these vital public services. The time for action is now; and the best kind of action is many, many concerned citizens reaching out to contact our public officials. We need to let the MBTA, Governor Patrick, Senator Susan Fargo, and Representative Cory Atkins know that we care about sustainability and enthusiastically support public transit.

In conclusion we urge you to write, email or call the state officials listed above. Ask them to implement a change in the MBTA’s funding formula in order to maintain current service levels. You may also want to ask that they remove the “Big Dig” debt from the MBTA. Since decisions are imminent, do not delay; act now! If this doesn’t change, we will all regret it that we did not act when the time was ripe.

Contact information is readily available on the following websites:

http://www.mass.gov/governor/utility/contact-us.html

http://senatorfargo.net/contact-susan/

http://www.coryatkins.com/contact/

Email the MBTA at fareproposal@mbta.com

Bob Andrews is a resident of Concord and a member of the ConcordCAN Steering Group. Sue Felshin is a Concord resident and a supporter of sustainable living.

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