The complications from COVID-19 have changed the way we do so many things in our daily lives, including the way we’ve campaigned. I’ve had the opportunity to talk to many voters across the 12th Suffolk District over Zoom and other virtual platforms, and on the phones. It’s been great to connect with neighbors and hear about the most challenging issues they’re facing. All of these conversations have reaffirmed my commitment to serve the community I love.
As I have listened to neighbors these past few months, the issue of transportation is constantly raised. As we get into the heart of this important campaign, I wanted to share some of my transportation vision and policy proposals I would dedicate myself to on Beacon Hill.
Fixing our transportation system requires an equitable approach, one that ensures all voices are represented. Hundreds of thousands of people rely on the MBTA or Commuter Rail every single day to get where they need to go, but far too often the system fails them. Countless times over the last decade across our public transit system, riders have had to deal with increasingly long delays, mechanical problems, issues with overcrowding, and even multiple train and trolley derailments that bring the whole system - and the lives of riders - screeching to a halt.
In the last few years, we have seen MBTA administrators ignore problems until the system reaches almost complete failure. These administrators offer reactive and temporary fixes that put a band-aid on the problems. This is unacceptable. We need a long-term plan for investment in our entire system that will both improve access and service, and put the system on the path to reliability and affordability. As State Representative, I would advocate for permanent solutions to finally fix our broken system and also work to improve transit overall.
Our campaign was recently endorsed by the Boston Carmen’s Union, representing frontline MBTA drivers and operators - the workers who literally make the T run. We earned their support because they know that I will work tirelessly to reform our transit system. I will also ensure the voice of labor is a part of every legislative conversation.
If elected I will:
-- Ensure that investments made to our public transit system are beneficial to everyone in our city, especially in areas like Dorchester and Mattapan which have been neglected for too long.
-- Push for investment in new rail cars and buses to ensure there are fewer breakdowns and mechanical difficulties.
-- Explore opportunities to add dedicated bus lanes, drastically improving trip time, allowing for more buses to operate on the same route, and, ultimately, increasing access by increasing frequency.
-- Work to find alternative revenue sources, such as a statewide gas tax. This would allow us to not only invest hundreds of millions more in the system but also to explore lowering or even eliminating certain public transit fares for riders, specifically on bus routes in our district that workers need but cannot truly afford.
-- Instituting a multi-modal approach to transportation and commuting as a rule and not an exception so that everyone’s preferred transit options - from riders of public transit, to cyclists, to pedestrians, and drivers - are widely available and equally safe.
Throughout this campaign, I have heard what I have experienced as a commuter and lifelong resident of this district: that public transportation and safe streets are essential for our communities to thrive. A comprehensive, reliable, affordable, and safe transportation system isn’t just something that is nice to have, it is a basic requirement we all need and should be prioritized accordingly. And that’s exactly what I will do as State Representative for Dorchester, Hyde Park, Mattapan, and Milton.
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