Salem, MA – In the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day, Salem State students gathered on campus this month to urge Massachusetts to “Go Green for Public Transportation.”
“St. Patrick’s Day may be a few days away, but we are dressed in green today to show support for public transportation,” said MASSPIRG Campus Organizer Sean McGrath. “It’s time for our community and the legislature to make a smart investment in Massachusetts’ green future.”
Students and a representative of Congressman Tierney spoke out in the Bertolon Café on Salem State’s campus as to why they support public transportation. Students performed a “flash mob” and gathered photo petitions to tweet to elected officials to urge them to invest in public transportation that serves the North Shore and the rest of the Commonwealth.
"We must be smart and invest in public transportation. We cannot compete in this global economy if our infrastructure is crumbling. The solution has to be a balance of careful cuts and wise spending," said Congressman John Tierney, whose staffer DJ Napolitano attended the event on his behalf due to votes in Washington.
MBTA fair hikes and service cuts will affect all Bay Staters, especially students and residents on the North Shore. Many students rely on weekend commuter rail service, which will be cut under both scenarios for MBTA fair and service changes.
“I, like a lot of friends, use the commuter rail to get around,” says Salem State junior Julia Ackerly. “A lot of students like me will be stranded and be unable to get where they need to go.”
MBTA fare and service changes don’t even begin to address the real problem, which is that our entire transportation system is drastically underfunded. Without a real investment in the MBTA, the RTAs, active transportation, and funding to fix our crumbling roads and bridges, communities across the commonwealth will be stuck without a safe and reliable way to get around. In communities like on the North Shore, where there are public transportation options, the average household still spends close to 20% of their annual earnings to pay for their commute.
“It’s time to make an investment in statewide public transportation from the Berkshires to the Cape. We can’t ensure a green future for Massachusetts unless we put up some green first,” concludes McGrath.