Lawmakers to MBTA: Delay fare hikes until Tobin Bridge project complete

BOSTON — Massachusetts state lawmakers are calling on the MBTA to delay commuter fare hikes until after the Tobin Bridge repair project is complete.

A group of 30 state legislators have signed a letter asking the MBTA to hold off on the approved fare hikes until the completion of work on the Tobin Bridge and Chelsea Curves section of Route 1. That project is slated to conclude in 2021 while the MBTA hikes are set to begin July 1, 2019.

Read: Tobin Bridge Project MBTA fare letter

"The inherently fair thing to do in this situation is to ask the MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board to suspend the fare increase until after the completion of the Tobin Bridge and Route 1 repair project," said Senator Tarr (R- Gloucester).  "The extra burden on commuters in longer travel times and higher costs for public transportation puts residents North of Boston in a real dilemma."

>> Major construction project on Tobin Bridge, Chelsea Curves starts April 1

According to the state, "MassDOT will use accelerated construction techniques to shorten the overall construction times when rehabilitating the surface of the Tobin Bridge and performing maintenance on the viaduct in Chelsea through 2021."  Two of three travel lanes are expected to be open during daytime hours and one of the three travel lanes will be open during overnight hours.

The letter was sent to the MBTA on Tuesday, April, 9, and the MBTA responded with a statement Tuesday evening.

The full response can be read below:

"The Fiscal and Management Control Board yesterday unanimously approved a Fiscal Year 2020 MBTA operating budget that is structured around a fare increase taking effect on the first day of next fiscal year, July 1. The MBTA is committed to delivering a more reliable and improved public transit system for riders, and is focused on delivering $8 billion in projects over the next five years.  To help mitigate impacts of the Tobin Bridge project for impacted commuters, the MBTA and MassDOT are offering customers a number of options, including free inbound travel on Silver Line 3 and increasing capacity on the Blue Line."