Thanks to Andrea Freeman of the RTA Advocates Coalition (and Mass. Public Health Association) for this action alert for today or tomorrow!
Hello RTA Advocates Coalition!
Last week the House released two significant draft bills* to address transportation and they include a major victory for RTAs!
New funds for RTAs, estimated at $25-$27 million per year, would come from fees on shared ride services (e.g., Uber and Lyft) to increase RTA services which could include more weekend and evening hours, more frequent routes, and new routes. An additional $10 million would be dedicated specifically for rural transportation needs! But none of this is a sure thing just yet…
Today and tomorrow (Mon & Tues) we each need to tell our State Representatives which amendments we want them to support (or oppose) to ensure these significant RTA service increases will happen. Debate for these bills begins Wednesdayso please take these strategic actions quickly to make an important difference for RTA services:
Step 1. Call your State Rep (you’ll likely talk to a legislative aide)
Step 2: Introduce yourself as a constituent (and/or a service provider for constituents)
· Briefly say why you support RTAs/statewide public transportation
· Express strong support for the Revenue bill (H.4508), along with SUPPORT for Amendment #34 (sponsored by Rep. Peake) to ensure that increased funding for RTAs does not replace existing funding streams.
· Express strong support for the Bond bill (H.4506), along with SUPPORT Amendment #103 (sponsored by Rep. Peake) to tie RTA funding to inflation (Consumer Price Index/CPI) in future years.
· Ask your Rep to OPPOSE Amendment #36 (sponsored by Rep. Jones) in the REVENUE bill because it would reduce funding for RTAs and discourage use of shared Uber/Lyft rides.
· Ask your Rep to OPPOSE any amendments that reduce corporate tax obligations in the Revenue Bill
Step 3: Forward this message to your network of people who also care about improving RTA services and ask them to make a call or send an email too!
Step 4: Let me know that you took action and what (if any) feedback you receive. Email: email@example.com
Our T4MA and MPHA colleagues will be in the State House talking to the Reps and aides but they need YOU, the constituents, to be making these requests as well. Together, we can do this!
Be in touch with any questions or suggestions. Thanks for your partnership!
PS – If you read through the long list of all the amendments in the revenue bill, you’ll see there are a few that propose reduced or free fares. On the RTAAC conference call on 2/27/20, the consensus was to prioritize the amendments to protect the new revenue for service improvements in the House bill. When the Senate takes up these bills, we know that Senate President Spilka has already expressed support for reducing fares, so there is another opportunity to discuss this topic after we secure funds to improve service.
*The 2 bills:
The Transportation finance/revenue bill (H.4508) would raise approximately $600 million in new revenue each year for operating expenses for the 15 RTAs, the MBTA, rural transportation, and other aspects of our transportation system.
The Transportation investment/bond bill (H.4506) authorizes (but doesn’t yet appropriate) $14.5 billion over the next several years for transportation capital needs, including buses, vans, building renovations, structures, as well as roads, and bridges.