The BLOG: Politics

A modest proposal for Boston

Boston’s public transportation system, the MBTA, is in a death spiral. Each year, the system needs to charge more for poorer services and finds itself further in debt. The system’s managers annually come to the state with demands for more public funding in order to keep the system from going completely out of business.

It’s time to show some tough love! We need to simply announce that the MBTA system will be closed in 2020. Rather than continuing to invest more and more in an unsustainable system, Boston should make plans for a post-MBTA future.

Obviously, this will lead to more people driving and larger rush hour traffic jams, but corporations operating in Boston can plan for more carpooling and company vans to get their employees to work. Shuttle service could also support the airport and major retail areas. Boston is a relatively compact city, so many who live and go to school there can walk or bike. Boston will be able to expand its public bicycle program. This will also improve public health!

The advantages to the tourist industry will be even greater. Many people come to Boston already to walk the freedom trail or participate in the Marathon. Making Boston more of a walking city will be a great add-on to the things that already draw people to Boston.

Let’s not be pessimists looking at the glass half-empty; Boston’s post-MBTA future is a glass more than half-full.

Hugh Rutledge

Hugh Rutledge

Dr. Hugh Rutledge is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma, Boston University, and Boston College.

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