By Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) – It’s clear that money has been tight at the MBTA, but are fare hikes the best solution?

Outgoing MBTA GM Richard Davey recently sat down with WBZ’s Jon Keller to discuss that issue, the future of the T and his future as the Secretary and CEO at the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.

With the deep debt, the T will have to raise fares. Right?

“We are the only transit agency in America that hasn’t raised fares in the last five years, but it’s something that’s absolutely on the table for the next fiscal year,” said Davey. “It is probably inconceivable that we cannot raise fares next year, but it is something that we are looking at.”

Watch Part 1:

Davey said the T will hold public hearings this fall about potential fare hikes.

“We have a $160 million budget deficit that we have to close, so everything at this point is on the table, including fare increases and service cuts as well,” said Davey.

Davey added that the hike will probably not be as high as an additional $0.50 or $1.00, but he did not disclose any specific numbers.

“Part of the problem is that when you raise fares, you reduce ridership. You drive people away,” said Davey.

Will the gas tax need to be increased, too?

“At this point, it’s not on the table,” said Davey. “We’re starting a conversation now… about the kind of transportation system that we want. If the one we want is the one we have right now, it’s one we can’t afford, so we do have to be looking at things like…a (MBTA) fare increase.”

Watch Part 2:

Davey said that the gas tax topic can’t be approached until more government reform is done.

“The mantra of reform before revenue is something that we all bought into a couple years ago. We are still in the midst of reform within public transportation. We’ve done a lot of good things the last two years, saved some money. There’s still some opportunities left to have… We have to be able to be in a position to have the public’s confidence that we’ve done everything we can to ring out cost savings within transportation,” said Davey.

Davey later added that there are no plans to increase the tolls on the Mass. Turnpike and bridges.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. and 12:25 p.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.

Jon Keller

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