Subsidizing the rich

I take the Orange Line branch of Boston’s MBTA to work. The T is in the middle of adding a new station at Assembly Square, because Somerville is adding a new neighborhood there (well, really, a private company is). In general I support these types of developments–this really will be a city neighborhood ( it will have 500,000 square feet of retail, 2100 residential units, and 1,750,000 square feet of office and R&D space) and it will be connected directly to public transportation–but I haven’t really looked at it much. The last few months though the construction has started to affect me a bit more (the subway is closed some weekends and some nights for construction and the subway slows to a crawl as it moves inbound out of Wellington station), so I started looking at it. Now that I have, I’ve changed my mind a bit mainly because this will be almost entirely luxury housing and it’s being subsidized by the government–this says that roughly $73 million will be used in the development and $35 million for the T station, where these might not be the most up to date figures.It also comes at a time when funding for the T is up in the air (fares were increased by 23% last year and there will be another fare increase if the state doesn’t increase funding, it seems it will) even though ridership continues to grow. So, here’s another plan to increase ridership, but with no plan to increase service–I guess I’ll have to get used to even more crowded trains with more delays (and this is ignoring the possibility that a casino might open in Everett which would also add riders to the Orange Line). All to make things more convenient for the rich people who will live in this new neighborhood.

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