BOSTON (CBS) – Massachusetts Congressman Stephen Lynch said the state’s delegation is “furious” about cuts at the MBTA, saying it does make sense after the organization received $1 billion in federal funding.
Amid plummeting ridership, the MBTA cut nine bus routes and 20 percent of T service as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Though the MBTA received more than $1 billion in federal aid, most of the money was used to cover last year’s losses.READ MORE: Stimulus Check Update: Are You Eligible For A Plus-Up Payment?
Lynch, who is on the House Transportation Committee along with Congressmen Seth Moulton and Jake Auchincloss, was asked about the cuts during an appearance with Boston Mayor Marty Walsh on Monday.
“They’re going to take the billion dollars and lay people off? I don’t think so,” Lynch said. “We push this money out to the MBTA for the purpose of providing services, and keeping people employed.”
Lynch said he and his colleagues are going to “have some hard discussions” with the MBTA and Gov. Charlie Baker.
“I’ve talked to my colleagues, and they are furious about this,” Lynch said.READ MORE: PHOTOS: April Snow In Massachusetts
“We’re providing taxpayer money to the MBTA to provide services to the taxpayer. So, we are in total opposition to the reduction in services, to the laying off of employees or furloughing employees.”
Lynch said it is critical for the MBTA to be at full service, particularly with the state’s economy beginning to return closer to normal.
“The whole idea here is to move the country, and the state, and our cities and towns back to a more normal pattern of life,” Lynch said. “It is incongruous with our intent, speaking for the delegation, that an agency would take federal support from the taxpayer, and then cut services to those same taxpayers. That that doesn’t work for us.”
According to the MBTA, ridership on the Red, Green, and Orange lines is at around 25 percent of pre-pandemic levels. In a statement Monday, the T said it continues to, “monitor work and travel patterns and match service to ridership, while increasing service for the most transit-critical communities. As it plans ahead for the long-term budget impacts of the pandemic, the T will responsibly spend federal stimulus dollars and monitor ridership and make adjustments as necessary.”MORE NEWS: PHOTO: Tewksbury Police Stop Snow-Covered Car During April Storm
The MBTA faces annual budget deficits between $350 and 400 million.