Tuesday, March 10, 2015
Boston's snowy winter and the shutdown of the train system showed the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA or T) obviously needs investment to upgrade trains to handle snowy winters. In order to recoup the investment the T also needs to increase revenue. The train cars can handle additional riders and generate additional revenue in the reverse commute directions. During rush hour train cars are often full in one direction and almost empty in the reverse direction. Eastern Massachusetts also has a crisis lack of housing and office space resulting in high housing and office costs limiting business growth and making it difficult for residents to find housing as it is. The long term solution to the our transportation, housing, and office space problems is to reduce regulations around subway and commuter rail stations to allow and even encourage mixed use dense development including rental apartments, condos, office space, restaurants and shopping. With the right zoning and encouragement private investment can build up the areas around stations to make them both commuter destinations and places where people live. This would create reverse commuters, give the T additional revenue, increase the housing and office supply and encourage T use over driving. With increased long term ridership projections the state can invest in the T to fix the short term problems with projections of long term T revenue growth.