The elimination of the #52 bus through Newton (among others), as proposed by the MBTA to close its budget deficit, would be devastating. Rather than relying solely on service reductions and fare increases to address the budget deficit, a much better option for our municipality, economy and environment would be a miniscule increase in the gas tax, which has not been raised in two decades!
The Transportation Finance Commission's analysis showed that a barely perceptible 5.5 cent increase in the gas tax would raise enough revenue to close the $160M budget gap that the MBTA says in driving these decisions. If this is untenable, then other sources of state and municipal funding need to be considered; highways are subsidized, and the MBTA needs to be more fully subsidized as well.
The #52 is a primary bus line on the main artery through the city of Newton, along a route that is already heavily congested with traffic (much of it single-occupant). This line serves commuters to Boston, workers in Newton Center, Watertown, and Dedham, school kids at several public and private schools, Boston College, the Carroll School for the blind and countless businesses. We chose our home, our children's schools, the location of my business and even our orthodontist because they are all on the #52 bus line. This bus may be costly without externalities factored in. However, the costs to Newton Center businesses who will lose customers and revenues, to commuters who will lose productivity because of time spent in traffic, of road repair because of increased use, and to the environment because of increased auto use are immeasurable.
A strong infrastructure, including public transportation, is vital to a thriving economy.
Annie C. Weiss, LICSW
Do you have concerns or opinions on the ? Email your letters to Melanie.Graham@patch.com.