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The MBTA is bigger than Newton, but when it has a spectacular fail like this week’s, it affects many, many Newton commuters.

Even dedicated car-commuters are affected as snow-bound streets make driving dangerous–and there are no good public transit alternatives.

And if the more than a million daily T commuters switch to driving? Yeah, that’ll work.

I volunteer with the Transportation Advisory Group, a dedicated group of 8 volunteers and 8 terrific city staff, who are trying to expand transportation alternatives in Newton by upgrading our (street & sidewalk) infrastructure and positioning the City for better T service.

But what we do is only a complement to the state’s transportation system.

Unfortunately, the state has not been investing in maintenance. Expansion is sexy, but buying new buses and rail cars, fixing switch heaters, and, yes, even planning for hurricanes like Sandy to hit at HIGH tide by protecting the underground tracks is essential to a working system.

But T is just the canary in the coal mine. This isn’t just about trains and buses. Roads and bridges have not been kept up either. More funds for cities & towns to maintain roads have come through in the last few years, but according to the state Transportation Finance Report Massachusetts had more than 550 structurally unsound bridges in 2003–and we are just one year into a plan to fix them–more slowly than they need to be fixed.

Here’s a visualization for you:

The legislature needs to hear from us that we cannot continue underfunding the basic networks that sustain our lives and our economy. See what you can do here.

 







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