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Senator to hold public forum in Belmont on MBTA cuts

Posted by Evan Allen  March 14, 2012 09:11 AM

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Senator Will Brownsberger will hold a forum on the MBTA’s proposed service cuts in Belmont this Thursday.

The state transit agency is facing a $159 million budget shortfall for the fiscal year beginning this July 1. Officials have proposed cutting service and raising fares to close the gap.

Belmont T-riders could lose the service of the #74, #75 and #78 buses. Fares could rise across the board for bus, subway and commuter rail tickets. Possible cuts and fare hikes are not yet set in stone, but the MBTA needs to vote on next year’s budget by April 15.

The proposed cuts and fare increases have prompted outrage and an unprecedented level of involvement from riders, who have turned out in droves at public meetings to protest them.

Since January, almost 6,000 people attended 31 public meetings with T officials, according to an open letter by State Transportation Secretary Richard Davey and Acting General Manager of the MBTA Jonathan Davis thanking the public for their engagement with the issues facing the MBTA. The letter was released Tuesday.

The MBTA, they said, received 5,850 emails about the importance of public transit. Nearly 2,000 people offered public comments at meetings.

Before their April 4 board meeting, said Davey and Davis, MBTA officials will lay out their final recommendation for closing the budget gap. Despite attempts by the T to find one-time revenue sources, the plan will include both cuts and fare increases, they said.

Thursday’s forum will be held at 7 p.m. in the Selectmen’s Room at Town Hall. Anyone with questions should call the senator’s office at 617-722-1280.

For more information about the MBTA's proposals, go here.

Evan Allen can be reached at evan.allen@globe.com

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