Dan Grabauskas Campaigns for an MBTA Bailout

There is no better time to read an article about the MBTA possibly seeking “hefty” fare increases in 2010 than when you’re standing on a corner for half an hour, waiting for a bus that never shows up. It makes the idea of paying as much as $1.90 to ride the bus when it finally does arrive that much more infuriating.

1217944426But once we made it into the office and had some coffee, we calmed down and recognized Dan Grabauskas’ comments for what they are—the opening salvo of a campaign to get the MBTA some debt relief.

While politicians have fallen all over themselves to bail out the Turnpike Authority, the MBTA has been dealing with its own dismal finances. Now that the state has aided the quasi-public agency that handles the roads, the MBTA is demanding some attention. And nothing gets voters riled up like vague threats.

“If you don’t want to cut service, it’s going to have to be hefty” unless the T finds some new source of money to patch its rising deficits, [Grabuaskas told the Globe].

“The next fare increase, I don’t know what that number would have to be, but it would have to be pretty substantial,” Grabauskas said.

Cue the outrage. Just in time for the November election!

Of course, there is a way all this unpleasantness can be avoided.

Grabauskas spelled out two other alternatives: cuts in service, such as dropping bus routes or running trains less frequently, or state assistance with the agency’s $8.2 billion in debt and interest payments.

Your move, Legislature.

Photo from MBTA.com