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Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Michelle Wu and Advocates Urge Transit Improvements, Affordability

 Michelle Wu and Advocates Urge Transit Improvements, Affordability

At Event, Transit Experts and Leaders Endorse Michelle Wu For Mayor of Boston


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Boston, MA— Today, Michelle Wu and community leaders redoubled the call for urgent investments in our transit system to better serve every resident and neighborhood, ensure climate resilience, improve the Fairmount Line, electrify the bus fleet, and expand fare-free transit programs. The urgency of transit action has been clear in the past few weeks, as multiple life-threatening events on MBTA infrastructure have shaken the city of Boston.


At the event, she received the endorsement of former State Transportation Secretaries Jim Alosi and Fred Salvucci, as well as former MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board Chairman Joseph Aiello. The event was also attended by advocates and leaders Mela Miles, director of Transit-Oriented Development with Alternatives for Community & Environment, Collique Williams, organizer with Community Labor United and the Public Transit Public Good coalition, Stuart Spina with the T Rider’s Union and Clint Richmond, Executive Board member, Massachusetts Sierra Club, who joined Wu in the call for transit equity. 


The coalition urged:

  • Investments in reliable green transit infrastructure, including on the Fairmount Line, to improve service, create healthy communities, and generate green jobs. The City of Boston has already identified improvements on the Fairmount Line as a key transportation priority. And a recent report from TransitMatters and the Sierra Club found that full electrification of the MBTA’s bus fleet by 2030 would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 97%, save the MBTA more than $175 million in lifetime operating costs, and save residents $9 million annually in avoided healthcare costs, while improving quality of life through improved air quality, particularly for residents with asthma and other respiratory diseases. 

  • Use of new federal and state resources and work with the new Fiscal Management and Control Board to provide fare-free transit. In a Boston Globe op ed in January 2019, Michelle called to make the T free for the economic and social benefits that fare-free public transit provides, and called for the MBTA’s 28 Bus route to be free at the MBTA Fiscal Management and Control Board meeting in February 2019. In partnership with Mayor Janey, the 28 Bus has been engaged in a fare-free pilot program since August. In July of this year, in partnership with Northeastern University’s Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy, her office released a roadmap for a wider fare-free bus pilot, beginning with the 28, 66 and 116 buses, building toward system-wide change.

  • Bus-only travel lanes and transit signal priority to reduce traffic and speed travel times. Wu successfully advocated for a bus-only travel lane pilot – now permanent – on Washington Street, between Roslindale Village and Forest Hills Station, that reduced travel times for bus riders by up to 25% during the crowded morning commute. Boston currently has the worst traffic in the country, and Black bus riders in Boston spend 64 more hours every year sitting in traffic than white riders. As Mayor, Michelle has pledged to accelerate the creation of new dedicated bus lanes and transit signal priority to speed up bus service. Fare-free service will also reduce delays by allowing passengers to board more quickly and through both front and back doors, reducing dwell time and the harmful local pollutants that come with it. 

  • Multi-modal transportation infrastructure to solve our transportation crunch and promote Boston’s continued economic development, including streamlining processes between the Transportation Department and Public Works and building up in-house capacity for design and engineering, and setting clear benchmarks for progress to move through the backlogged pipeline of pedestrian, cyclist and transit infrastructure projects.


“Public transit connects our neighborhoods and drives our city’s economy. A safe, accessible, and sustainable transit system is the lifeblood of Boston. We’ll keep fighting for what our residents need, which is a transit system that truly serves every community and neighborhood,” said Michelle Wu. “I’m honored to have the support of these transit leaders who I have admired for so long, and look forward to working with them to create the system we deserve.”


“I’m with Michelle Wu because she’s been an energetic advocate for a better T that can secure the economic and social health of Boston by improving service, capacity and affordability as we transition to a low carbon future,” said former State Transportation Secretary Fred Salvucci.


“I’m a lifelong Boston resident. I’ve come to know Michelle Wu as a strong and reliable partner in the transit advocacy arena who delivers results, makes impactful change and is passionate about building a stronger, more inclusive, sustainable future for Boston. She has empathy, vision, political courage and a moral core that make her the most extraordinary candidate for mayor I’ve seen in my lifetime,” said former State Transportation Secretary Jim Aloisi. 


“The next mayor of Boston will have the opportunity to shape the city’s economic future in this century, and transit is a key component of that. In my experience Michelle Wu was always present when and where it counted, pushing effectively for outcomes that will help Boston grow equitably. I believe that Boston will grow and thrive under her leadership,” said former MBTA FMCB Chairman Joseph Aiello.


“The State has spent hundreds of millions to create a solution for equitable transportation in this corridor of the city. How do you make good on good intentions? Short term, fare-free transit for the Fairmont Line boarding at the city stations. Mid term, implement DMU trains so they can offer passengers a realistic alternative. Long term, convert all commuter rail to electric and end using diesel,” said Tim Lasker, President of OPEIU Local 453.


“We need world-class public transportation. Boston should be the leader, as it was first in the nation with public transit options. Two issues are of high priority for residents: fares and electrifying the service. We fought for equitable fares for Fairmount, but it still hasn’t been completely fixed. The destination stop Readville is still Zone 2, with fares three times higher than other stops. Hyde Park is more diverse now. We need fare equity so that all can afford to ride,” said Mela Miles, Director of Transit Oriented Development at Alternatives for Community & Environment.


“The Massachusetts Sierra Club stands with Michelle on sustainable transportation for all. Fast, frequent, affordable, and universally accessible electric buses and trains will reduce pollution in our environmental justice communities while improving mobility for residents, workers and visitors in the City of Boston,” said Clint Richmond, Executive Committee member, Massachusetts Sierra Club.


“Massachusetts' future depends on public transit, so we need affordable fares across all modes. We can pay for it by making sure that wealthy individuals and corporations pay their fare share. When public transit is equitable, affordable, and sustainably funded, we all benefit,” said Collique Williams, organizer with Community Labor United and the Public Transit Public Good Coalition.



Michelle has also been a fierce advocate for bolder leadership from City Hall and closer collaboration between the City, the MBTA, and state and federal partners, including arguing in a 2019 op-ed for a stronger, more accountable governance structure, including a rider representative and a permanent seat for the City of Boston on the FMCB. 


In 2016 and 2017, as City Council President, Michelle hosted the first-ever Boston City Council policy briefing series focused exclusively on transportation. During the briefings, Michelle convened transportation policy experts, community advocates, and residents to discuss how the City of Boston could advance a low stress bicycle network, pedestrian service and safety, systematic safety and VisionZero, transit signal priority, and parking management. She has been a consistent advocate for safe, protected cycling infrastructure.


Michelle Wu is an endorsed by an enthusiastic multigenerational, multicultural coalition of grassroots supporters, including leaders Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator Ed Markey, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, Mayor Kim Janey, Sheriff Steve Tompkins, Suffolk County Register of Probate Felix Arroyo Sr., Boston City Councilors Ricardo Arroyo, Liz Breadon and Lydia Edwards; State Senators Assistant Majority Leader Sal DiDomenico, Sonia Chang Diaz and Julian Cyr; State Representatives Assistant Majority Leader Mike Moran, Ways and Means Chair Aaron Michlewitz, Jay Livingstone, Adrian Madaro, Vanna Howard, Natalie Higgins, Liz Miranda, Tram Nguyen, Maria Robinson, Andy Vargas, and Tommy Vitolo; former State Representative and Assistant Majority Leader Byron Rushing; labor unions 1199 SEIU, 32BJ SEIU, North Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters, Teamsters Local 25, New England Joint Board of UNITE HERE!, UAW Region 9A, Laborers Local 22, Alliance of Unions at the MBTA, MBTA Inspectors Union Local 600, OPEIU Local 453; climate organizations Sunrise Boston, Sierra Club, the Environmental League of Massachusetts, 350 Mass Action; Progressive West Roxbury/Roslindale; Boston’s Ward 1, Ward 4 and Ward 5 Democratic Committees; The Boston Guardian; and fellow municipal elected officials from across Greater Boston and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. For all of Michelle for Boston’s endorsements, visit michelleforboston.com/endorsements

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