With derailments, train fires and an unprecedented safety investigation by the Federal Transit Administration, the MBTA in Boston is exhibit A when it comes to the nation’s problematic relationship with public transportation systems.
Northeastern University experts blame years of disinvestment in buses, subways and commuter rails on the political view that public transportation is akin to a welfare entitlement and not a fundamental public good like highways and schools. It wasn’t always that way. The wealthy used to compete for service. Now the T’s most famous regular rider—former Gov. Michael Dukakis, Northeastern professor emeritus—says it’s critically important to get back on track for the sake of the environment and the economy.