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Boston-area campus news round-up, week of Feb. 13: T troubles get students talking

Posted by Alex Pearlman  February 17, 2012 01:48 PM

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newspaper with picture.pngBoston is one big college town. What students are talking about and what's happening on the city's campuses matters. Every Friday, TNGG Boston will round up a few of the most interesting and well-written stories from student journalists across the area.

As much as we all love to hate on the T, we'd have a real problem getting where we needed to go if it didn’t exist. Unfortunately, the MBTA is in debt, and the proposed solution is somewhat akin to that dreaded world where the T doesn’t exist, at least at certain times.

Since the majority of the Boston area’s student population relies heavily on the MBTA system, campus papers were abuzz on the issue this week. The following are some of the stories.

“Voice of Reason: Proposed MBTA cuts will solve deficit issue” (Avi Snyder, Feb. 13) -- The Justice
Snyder lays out the arguments that various groups have made against the T’s proposed fare hikes and service cuts and explains why each is an inadequate solution. “From arguing that banks should simply forgive the MBTA's debt to approaching the issue from a myopic, interest group-based standpoint, too many who oppose these cuts are encouraging people to put their own interests and the interests of the groups before the public good,” he writes. “It bespeaks a selfish sense of entitlement that [Brandeis'] student body...ought to eschew.”

“Protesters picket against MBTA fare proposals in Copley Square” (Samantha Tatro, Feb. 14) -- The Daily Free Press
Before a Monday night meeting about the T’s proposed debt solutions at the Boston Public Library’s main branch, protesters came out en masse to voice their dislike for the plan. “We’re calling for the government to work together for a long-term funding situation,” Sarah Horsley, civic engagement director of the Fenway Community Development Corporation, told Tatro. “There are other funding sources they can look into, like raising the gas tax.”

“Transportation Troubles” (Feb. 15) -- The Harvard Crimson
The Crimson’s editorial staff penned this op-ed, which calls the MBTA’s proposals “alarmingly shortsighted.” Much of the T’s debt comes from the Big Dig project (“past mismanagement,” according to the staff) “and should be addressed accordingly,” they write. “We envision a T that is financially independent and capable of equitably providing Boston’s citizens with better service -- a T that the city can be proud of and that it deserves.”

“T debt a result of decades of inefficiencies” (Scott Ryder, Feb. 16) -- The Huntington News
Speaking of past mismanagement, this story delves into the history of the T’s funding and exactly how all its debt came to exist. When the MBTA switched from being reimbursed for expenses each year under a backward-funding plan to being allocated a percentage of state sales tax, as well as other funds, in a forward-funding plan, “they [were supposed to have] what people thought was a pretty reliable source of income to depend on,” Zach Tucker, an Emerson freshman and founder of Students Against T Cuts, told Ryder. “Well, it didn’t turn out that way.”

Photo by DooFi (Open Clip Art Library)

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