Prepare for another battle of reform versus revenue at Massachusetts’ regional transit authorities as Gov. Charlie Baker and state lawmakers write next year’s state budget.Baker, in his fiscal 2020 budget proposal, wants to require the RTAs to take new steps toward operating more efficiently. But Baker is not proposing any new funding.Advocates for the transit authorities say they agree with the need to operate efficiently, but they also need more money.“At this point, we’re just trying to keep up with inflation and costs,” said Tina Cote, administrator at the Franklin Regional Transit Authority. “I don’t think any RTA in the state is wastefully spending any funds the state is handing down.”Last year, the state budget allocated $88 million to regional transit authorities. This included $2 million for the Pioneer Valley and Worcester transit authorities to eliminate budget deficits. It included $4 million in targeted funding for RTAs that implement best practices and improve performance.The fiscal year started in July, but so far the Department of Transportation has not released any of the $4 million. According to the department, applications are still being evaluated to see if proposed projects will increase ridership, demonstrate innovation, serve a priority population, be financially sustainable,… Read full this story
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