Baker rules out new taxes for the T
Says new revenue can come from more riders, land sales, advertising
GOV. CHARLIE BAKER on Thursday announced an $83 million winter resiliency plan for the MBTA, urged the Legislature to pass a separate package of management reforms, and ruled out new tax revenue for the transit agency.
Baker repeated his administration’s standard line that the many holes in the T’s operations need to be fixed before new revenue for the agency can even be considered. But he subsequently answered yes when asked if new tax revenue for the T was off the table. He noted the agency has the capacity to raise significant revenue internally by becoming more reliable and attracting more riders, by selling off surplus real estate, and by selling advertising.
Baker said he and Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack, who prior to joining his administration often called for more revenue for the T, are on the same page in regard to additional funding for the agency.
The governor urged the Legislature to pass his T reform plan, which includes a fiscal control board, ends binding arbitration in disputes with the T’s union, and repeals the so-called Pacheco Law, which regulates privatization of state services.
The winter resiliency plan is expected to cost $82.7 million, with $62 million coming from the federal government, $10 million from the MBTA’s capital budget, and $11.7 million from the T’s operating funds.