Now Is the Time to Invest in a Healthy Transportation System

Speak Up In Support of New Revenues Today 

Last night, Governor Patrick delivered a State of the Commonwealth address in which he staked out bold policy positions on the need to raise new revenues and to invest in transportation and education.
The Governor’s proposal is a step in the right direction and is a productive kickoff to debate on this topic. As this debate progresses, MPHA will be urging the Legislature to raise significant new revenue in a way that is fair to low and moderate income families and that allows us to invest in a healthier transportation system for all.

MPHA has put transportation policy at the top of our agenda this year because of the profound impacts our transportation system has on health outcomes and health equity.  We believe this is the year to make the kinds of investments necessary to sustain healthy communities and to reduce the disproportionate burdens of our current system borne by communities of color and low income communities.

A healthier transportation system can:

  • Promote greater physical activity by supporting walking and biking infrastructure
  • Reduce emissions and the impact of asthma, allergies, and other respiratory conditions
  • Reduce injuries and fatalities from traffic accidents
  • Connect residents to jobs, essential goods and services, and resources such as healthy food stores and health care facilities

Check out the great infographic from NewPublicHealth.org, Better Transportation=Healtheir Lives, to learn more!

In order to invest in transportation and education, Governor Patrick proposed a package of tax changes that would raise significant new revenue.  His proposal includes a doubling of the personal tax exemption, which would hold down increases for low and moderate income families.

Under the proposal, the sales tax would be dedicated for a public works fund to maintain, modernize, and expand our transportation system. The Governor’s transportation investment plan includes:

  • $430 million dedicated to constructing and improving bike and pedestrian facilities
  • Acknowledgment that the roadway program must be multimodal and include all users – pedestrians, cyclists, public transit, cars, and freight
  • Strong attention to regional needs, including $400 million for upgrades at the Regional Transit Authorities that provide bus service outside the MBTA service areas
  • Expansion of rail service on the Green Line, South Coast Rail, Berkshires to New York City, and Boston to Cape Cod, among others
  • A solution to the systemic deficit at the MBTA caused by saddling the T with the Big Dig debt
  • New funds to fix crumbling roads and bridges

In addition to transportation investments, new revenue would be dedicated to education, including early education and care, K-12 education, and higher education.  These investments would also improve equity and opportunity for our state’s residents.

Please join us in supporting new revenue for a healthy transportation system!  Here are actions that you can take right away:
  1. Learn more about the plan. Read the Administration’s plan for transportation investments here. Read about the Governor’s education investment proposal here.
  2. Email your Representative and Senator as well as House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Therese Murray. (See the sample email text and how to find your legislators below.)
  3. Express your support for new revenue on social media.
  4. Forward this message to your friends and family.
  5. Receive updates from MPHA and Transportation for Massachusetts.
  6. Submit a letter to your local paper, comment on articles on-line, or call in to talk radio.
  7. Let us know if you or your organization wants to get involved in the campaign to invest in a healthy transportation system. Contact Maddie Ribble at mribble@mphaweb.org or Andrea Freeman at afreeman@mphaweb.org. 

 

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Email Your Legislators Today to Express your Support for Healthy Transportation Investments

To find your legislators, click here. Please include Speaker Robert DeLeo (Robert.DeLeo@mahouse.gov) and Senate President Therese Murray (Therese.Murray@masenate.gov) on your email. Below is a sample text of email to your legislators. Your message will be most powerful if you write it in your own words, using examples of the need for transportation investment in your community. 

Dear Representative ________ and Senator ________ :

I support investing in our transportation system to improve the health and well being of the Commonwealths’ resident. I am writing to ask you to do the same. Massachusetts needs a long-term strategy that will fix what’s broken, reduce delays and congestion, and make our cities and towns healthier and more prosperous.

A healthy transportation system can have profound impacts on health by promoting greater physical activity; reducing the impact of asthma, allergies, and other respiratory conditions; reducing injuries and fatalities from traffic accidents; and most importantly, connecting residents to jobs, essential goods and services, and resources such as healthy food stores and health care facilities

I use the transportation system every day. I want to know that it will work when I need it—that roads and bridges will stay open, that the trains will run on time, that sidewalks will not crumble, and that we can build the walking and bicycling trails that my community wants.

In order to meet these needs, we must raise significant new revenue. I support raising new revenue in a way that holds down increases for low and moderate income families. The Governor’s proposal is a good start to this debate. We have some hard choices, but you can make sure that we get a fair blend of revenues that will allow us to invest in our communities and our health.

Thank you for your attention, and your action.

Sincerely,
[NAME/ADDRESS]

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