The Metropolitan Boston Transportation Authority (MBTA, or “T” for short) is in deep financial trouble, with nearly $9 billion of debt and a $3 billion maintenance backlog that is growing more every year. According to a Boston Herald op ed by Harvard researcher Charles Chieppo, the blame for this can be placed on the Dukakis administration and the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF).
When Massachusetts was planning the Big Dig, CLF sued demanding investments in transit to mitigate the air pollution generated by new auto traffic resulting from the Big Dig’s minor expansions in highway capacity. Dukakis settled by agreeing to build 14 new transit projects.
In fact, those transit investments did little or nothing to clean the air. For one thing, relieving congestion actually reduces air pollution. For another, cars today are so clean that persuading people to ride transit instead does little for air quality.