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The Mass Media

Will the MBTA Have A Smooth 2016? MA Senate President Says Yes


Massachusetts Senate President Stan Rosenberg visited “Massachusetts Politics,” a class taught by Professor Maurice Cunningham. 

Last month, Massachusetts Senate President Stan Rosenberg discussed some of the legislative body’s top priorities for fiscal year 2016 with Professor Maurice Cunningham’s political science students.

The MBTA, for which the legislator has worked on four major pieces over the past 30 years, was one of the key issues Mr. Rosenberg addressed.

“It is the oldest, continuously operating subway system in the world,” he said. “It is in very rough shape. A lot of investment is needed.”

Last winter,  the ‘snowmageddon’ challenged politicians and policy-makers to reconsider their priority. For the vast majority of 2015, the debate has been about how to invest, improve, and upgrade the infrastructure of the MBTA, from tracks to trains. In early June, Gov. Baker announced $83.7 million MBTA Winter Resilience Plan, but there has been little legislation moving this year.

“We are going to have a big debate soon about how to pay for the T,” revealed President Rosenberg. He said the senate will continue to work hard to try to ensure that they are putting in place a piece of legislation that has the best chance to succeed.

Mr. Rosenberg assured Massachusetts residents that the State is better prepared to face any harsh winter and that the MBTA operation will be improved. “You are going to see a better operation of the MBTA [in 2016]. No matter how bad the weather,” he said.

Speaking on issues that currently drive him compared to when he first ran for office in 1986, Mr. Rosenberg said the big motivating things for him now are income inequality and income insecurity. He believes that the state can do more to eliminate the wage gap between rich and poor. ”Because our income is so high, there is an exaggerated form of inequality,” he said.

Massachusetts has the third highest income per capita. President Rosenberg explained that to build an economy that addresses the problem of income inequality, we need to start looking at compensation, salaries and wages, shared opportunity, and shared prosperity.

President Rosenberg also addressed the issue of climate change. “Massachusetts is a coastal state. Therefore, we need to be aware of sea rise, carbon footprint, and weather conditions,” he said. “We need to develop policies that can help protect our physical assets, since they are going to be under enormous pressure in the years to come.”
Professor Cunningham is the co-founder of the MassPoliticsProfs blog. President Rosenberg was invited to speak to his class ‘Massachusetts Politics,’ which seeks to understand the traditions, partisanship, interests, political figures, and media to make Massachusetts the state it is today.
Winston Pierre can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on twitter @winstonnewspost