MA pushing to increase

These two articles should go together, but don’t. Look at these two bits:

Governor Deval Patrick detailed a plan Tuesday to produce 10,000 multifamily housing units a year through 2020 in an effort to keep young professionals from leaving Massachusetts.

The initiative includes a program called Compact Neighborhoods that will encourage and create housing near workplaces, public transportation, and city and village centers, Patrick said.

The plan is meant to complement other state initiatives that promote so-called smart-growth — the creation of housing near train stations and urban centers, state officials said. It would more than double the amount of housing with five or more units — including apartments and condominiums — expected to be built by the end of this year, the state said.


Just months after the MBTA raised fares, the T faces a $130 million deficit for the next budget year, according to an analysis released Monday by a regional think tank.

But that daunting financial gap is eclipsed by a $240 million shortfall to operate the highway system, the study concluded.

The budget analysis, conducted by the Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy at Northeastern University, does not include money to address a vast and growing backlog of repair and replacement needs for everything from rail cars to bridge abutments or to improve transportation across the Commonwealth. The analysis merely reflects the cost of running the system as is and suggests that tax increases, fare hikes, or cuts could be on the horizon.

The T figure, if a shock to commuters­ still adjusting to the July fare increase, was foreshadowed by officials last spring who acknowledged that the higher prices, coupled with cuts and emergency funding, amounted to a one-time fix.

The numbers were released as Governor Deval Patrick’s administration tallies its own figures onthe gap between what the state currently spends and how much it could or should spend to maintain a robust, healthy transportation network, along with how much could be raised by taxes or fees. That January report, requested by lawmakers, is likely to precede a Patrick budget that could call for new revenues, as well as efficiencies, to address the long-simmering transportation funding crisis.

“It is clear to us that the system we have today we cannot afford and the system that the public wants we definitely can’t afford,” Richard A. Davey, the state’s secretary of transportation, said in an e-mailed statement Monday. “In the coming weeks and months, we will conclude a comprehensive review of our transportation system and determine what resources we need to set us on a path ­toward a high quality, sustainable transportation future.”

I would hope that the state will push for higher funding for public transportation if it wants to add significantly to the number of people who use it. Sadly, it looks like that’s not going to happen. I’ll be somewhat surprised if there aren’t cutbacks to public transportation as we move forward (it was amazingly difficult to get that one-time fix this year without huge cuts).

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