No to Cuts at the MBTA!

27 February 2012

For a Socialist Program to Defend Jobs and Services!

The MBTA is planning deep cuts to the transit system relied upon by millions throughout the Boston area. The T is seeking to make working people pay for a crisis that is not of their making. Along with the cuts in services, the jobs of more than 500 T workers are also threatened with elimination.

The Socialist Equality Party insists that affordable mass transit is a social right that is not negotiable. Not only should cuts to existing services and fare hikes be resisted, there should be a citywide offensive for improvements to services.

The driving force for the cuts to the T are principal and interest payments on $5.2 billion owed to the banks and other predatory lenders, which consume nearly 30 percent of the system’s operating budget. The starting point for addressing the financial crisis of the MBTA should be the repudiation of the debt.

The two alternative proposals presented by T officials are equally bad and unacceptable. One proposal would raise fares by an average of 43 percent and eliminate 25 percent of bus routes. The other would raise fares by an average of 35 percent and eliminate 75 percent of current bus routes. Both proposals eliminate commuter rail services on weekends and after 10 p.m. on weekdays. Services on the Green Line’s E Branch and Mattapan Trolley would be eliminated on weekends. All MBTA ferry routes would be eliminated outright.

The steepest fare hikes will hit those least able to defend themselves. THE RIDE, which provides services for the disabled, will see steep fare increases, plus the introduction of “Premium” fare trips outside the fixed route service area, or for trips before or after hours, or those booked the same day.

The claim that there is “no money” to finance the T is a lie. There are more than 58,000 millionaires in the Boston area, with nearly one in 20 families worth at least $1 million. Boston has some of the country’s top educational institutions, such as Harvard and MIT, with massive endowments and tuition fees over $50,000 a year. Clearly the issue here is not a lack of money, but who decides how the money is to be spent. The Socialist Equality Party insists that as an essential public service, the T should be financed through taxes placed upon the wealthy corporations who pay out billions each year in executive compensation.

A fight against the T cuts and to defend other vital services means a break with these two parties—the Democrats and Republicans, which accept social inequality and the domination of the banks and corporations over all aspects of life. What is required is the building of a political movement of working people, bringing riders, T workers and others together in a fight to defend and expand the social rights of the working class.

Socialist Equality Party Public Meeting
NO TO MBTA SERVICE CUTS AND FARE HIKES!
Thursday, March 1, 7 p.m.
YMCA, Afterschool room
316 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115