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Gov. Patrick: MBTA Raised Fares To Avoid “Drastic” Cuts

By Bob Salsberg, Associated Press
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File Image (Photo Courtesy:  Wikimedia Commons)

File Image (Photo Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons)

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BOSTON (CBS/AP) — Gov. Deval Patrick says he supports a plan by the MBTA to raise fares while avoiding what he calls “drastic” cuts in service on the Boston-area transit system.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Lana Jones reports.

Read: MBTA Fare and Service Changes

T officials announced on Wednesday that they were recommending an average fare increase of 23 percent for buses and subways to help close a projected $159 million budget gap. Costs would also go up for seniors, students and disabled passengers.

Several bus routes would be cut or modified under the plan — which must be approved by the T’s board — but most weekend commuter rail and Boston Harbor ferry service would be saved.

While endorsing a short-term plan of what he called “patches and plugs,” Patrick said the state’s overall transportation funding system remains “broken” and in need of a long-term fix by the Legislature.

Governor Patrick said, “This solution is all about patches and plugs in addition to a middle range fare increase and that’s what it’s going to take to try to maintain most of the service for another year.”

WBZ asked the Governor what he believes the long term solution should be and if he believes the legislature will be more receptive to a gas tax. The Governor responded, “They’re going to have to be receptive to something. You know, I put a gas tax on the table three years ago and it did not move. We have, as I’ve said, a whole host of unmet needs and there are people behind those needs and this isn’t about luxuries, this is about people having access to work and having access to school and having access to a world-class system across the whole of the Commonwealth. We need to deal with that.”

WBZ-TV’s Karen Anderson contributed to this report.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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