March 17, 2021

Warren, Clark, and MA Delegation Push Commonwealth for Answers on MBTA Cuts

Cuts come after federal government approved over $1 Billion for mass transit funding in American Rescue Plan

Text of Letter (PDF)

Boston, MAToday, United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Assistant Speaker Katherine Clark (D- Mass.), and the Massachusetts Delegation, including Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), and Representatives Richard E. Neal (D-Mass.), James P. McGovern (D-Mass.),Stephen F. Lynch (D-Mass.), William Keating (D-Mass.), Seth Moulton (D-Mass.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), Lori Trahan (D-Mass.), and Jake Auchincloss (D-Mass.) sent a letter to the MBTA (Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority) General Manager Steve Poftak expressing concerns regarding the MBTA’s service cuts that began this week. This is the delegation’s second letter requesting an explanation for the cuts following an initial request sent in December 2020 and follows the enactment of the American Rescue Plan Act, which provides Massachusetts over $1 billion in mass transit funding. 

“We have yet to receive a reply to our request for information justifying the level of service cuts the MBTA has implemented. Moreover, since our original letter, Congress has secured over $250 million for the MBTA, and the American Rescue Plan will provide an estimated $1 billion in additional transit funding to the Commonwealth,” wrote the lawmakers. “We urge you to provide evidence that justifies decreased service despite this robust federal relief, as we previously requested, or immediately reverse the recent service cuts, which disproportionately harm essential workers and low-income communities who rely on the MBTA for commutes and access to critical services.” 

“We consider mass transit to be a public good, a vital tool for combatting climate change, and an integral part of our post-COVID recovery,” the lawmakers continued. “As such, we again request that the MBTA provide clear evidence demonstrating the continued need for this degree of service reduction in light of the significant federal assistance the Authority has received. Finally, we hope you can reassure us that the federal assistance Congress has provided will be used to completely restore any and all service cuts as soon as possible.”

Senator Warren and the Massachusetts delegation have fought to ensure access to public transit throughout the pandemic. With the passing of the American Rescue Plan, Massachusetts will receive over $1 billion in critical funding relief for its transit systems for operating expenses, payroll costs, and protective equipment. In May 2020, Senator Warren and her colleagues secured $823 million in relief funding for the MBTA.