Transportation Reform, Budget Legislation Filed
The Patrick-Murray Administration has filed transportation reform legislation that addresses the MBTA FY 2013 budget and builds on the success of the Transportation Reform Act of 2009. The legislation would authorize several steps to allow the MBTA to close its FY13 structural deficit, including a shift of Motor Vehicle Inspection Trust Fund surplus funds.
“This reform legislation will allow the MBTA working with MassDOT and listening to T customers to reduce an original FY13 budget deficit of $185 million by more than $100 million,” said MassDOT Secretary and CEO Richard A. Davey. “When combined with the proposed fare increase plan, the MBTA will preserve services vital to our customers and to a strong and growing Commonwealth economy.”
The bill calls for increased MBTA fines for fare evasion to $75 first offense, $200 second offense, and $350 for subsequent offenses, along with requiring the reporting to RMV in 21 days of citations not paid, resulting in license suspension until fines are paid.
The number of MBTA noncriminal fare evasion citations increased from 818 in 2007 to 3,248 in 2011. The increases in fines are intended to serve as a significant deterrent to those deliberately not purchasing the required fare.
The reform legislation also authorizes the following:
- Use of a $51 million surplus in the Motor Vehicle Inspection Trust Fund toward the FY13 MBTA budget
- Tort reform that aligns the tort liability cap at the MBTA with other state agencies, saving approximately $4 million annually
- Federal reimbursement under Medicare and Medicaid for certain MBTA RIDE paratransit services, saving approximately $5 million
- Provides MassDOT the same authority as the MBTA to enter into agreements for revenue-generating advertising agreements within MassDOT facilities
- Exempts MassDOT from a surplus lines tax assessed on insurance premiums, saving $150,000