Massachusetts Congressman Stephen Lynch Criticizes MBTA Cuts

The MBTA received more than $1 billion in federal aid, most of the money was used to cover last year’s losses. WBZ-TV's Mike LaCrosse reports.

Video Transcript

- Congressman Steve Lynch came down hard on the MBTA today, criticizing that agency for making cuts when it's receiving almost a billion dollars in federal relief. WBZ's Mike LaCrosse is live in Somerville tonight. Mike, he says when you're getting a huge infusion of taxpayer money, you shouldn't be cutting service to taxpayers.

MIKE LACROSSE: Lisa, the congressman says the whole point of the federal stimulus is to get people back to work. And that includes things like utilizing public transportation. He says the MBTA, though, is going in the wrong direction.

STEPHEN LYNCH: These are front-line workers every single day. And now they get a billion dollars, and they're going to lay-- they're going to take the billion dollars and lay people off? I don't think so.

MIKE LACROSSE: Congressman Stephen Lynch is calling on the MBTA to rethink any layoffs and reexamine its service cuts.

STEPHEN LYNCH: We're providing taxpayer money to the MBTA to provide services to the taxpayer.

MIKE LACROSSE: The congressman says the nearly billion dollars the MBTA is getting as part of the latest federal stimulus package is to keep the service running and to get people back to work.

STEPHEN LYNCH: We're going to have some hard discussions with the MBTA and with the governor.

MIKE LACROSSE: The MBTA cut nine bus routes and 20% of T service. The agency says ridership remains at less than a third of pre-pandemic levels. The T says, "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."

GREG SULLIVAN: The T is faced with a problem. That is, they have an awful lot of empty buses and ferries.

MIKE LACROSSE: Greg Sullivan is with the think tank The Pioneer Institute, which tracks and analyzes the MBTA budget. Sullivan agrees with the congressman, job cuts should be avoided, but believes the T can look at ways to save money.

GREG SULLIVAN: I don't think it's unreasonable for the T to look at parts of their service where they don't necessarily want to run at 100%.

MIKE LACROSSE: And the MBTA says it will work to monitor travel patterns to make adjustments with service so it will match ridership. Reporting live in Somerville tonight, I'm Mike LaCrosse, WBZ News.