Friday, January 7, 2000
Selectmen protest MBTA assessment
Stunned at the price tag for membership, the board of selectmen on December 28 signed a resolution protesting the inclusion of Carlisle in the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA).
While the selectmen had debated the merits of being assessed as part of the public transit system, which is required by a recent state law adopted to bring more money into the MBTA, the amount of Carlisle's tab came as a shock to both sides of the debate. Starting in 2002, the town would pay a token amount of $5,881, but the assessment would progressively increase to $29,405 in 2006. The payments would continue thereafter but the amounts are unknown.
Selectman Vivian Chaput, who had supported inclusion of more towns in the MBTA as a way to encourage greater use of public transportation, said nevertheless that she was "distressed at the numbers."
Furthermore, according to selectman Burt Rubenstein, a study commissioned by the state concluded that assessments were not the most appropriate way to fix the MBTA's fiscal woes. The study found two things wrong with the operation of the MBTA, said Rubenstein. First, fares were too low and, second, the authority had the habit of increasing its budget whenever it needed more money.
The resolution urged the state to explore other funding options, including fare increases, to adequately cover the cost of operations. The resolution states, "While the board of selectmen supports and encourages the use of public transportation, this assessment unfairly burdens our community, based on the arbitrary and capricious criteria of being a community that is adjacent to a community that is a member of the MBTA." In signing the resolution, the board joined similar communities in asking that a portion of the recently-approved state budget be repealed.
© 2000 The Carlisle Mosquito