MBTA Fare Hike

The MBTA is planning to raise fares starting with 2007.

There is a lot of opposition to this, and I’m somewhat sympathetic to why raising fares is bad, but I can’t get upset about it. The MBTA is in massive debt ($8.1 billion!), so I can appreciate attempts to get back in the black.

But with so much debt, I suspect it won’t be enough. The MBTA should consider restructuring or seek auxillary sources of income to supplement or replace the fare hike.

So here’s my modest proposal: Institute a large (50ยข to $1) tax on gasoline that would go directly to the MBTA. Maybe just in the Boston area, maybe state-wide.

A so-called green tax like this is already desirable, as the city has a vested interest in disincentivizing car traffic. Smog and congestion are bad for the city and a lot of money is put into public road infrastructure.

It also scales well. If the tax causes more people to drop cars and use public transportation, the MBTA gets similar revenue through the fare.