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Walsh Speaks Out Against Potential MBTA Service Cuts

BOSTON (CBS) – Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and community leaders spoke out against MBTA service cuts as officials met Monday to discuss the proposed plans. The T is considering fewer bus routes as well as cutting weekend commuter-rail service and ferry service.

"We're erasing, transportation, and that is going to have long term, severe impacts, potentially, to our city, to our state, to our region," said Walsh. "These cuts would hurt our public health and our climate, would cause more crowded bus and crowded bus and trains."

The move would be to make up for a budget shortfall that's only worsened during the pandemic but Walsh said the cuts would hurt the city's recovery from coronavirus.

The T's advisory board met Friday and said they don't need to make any drastic cuts just yet.

According to Walsh, the cuts would threaten at least 800 jobs.

"A report that was just released, it's clear that the bulk of the layoffs are likely to come from the ranks of bus and train operators and motor persons. This is a group of workers that's largely non-white, 50% are black and about half of them live in communities where COVID rates are above 4%," said Community Labor United Executive Director Lee Matsueda. "We cannot stand for this public sector jobs like those the T have been historically a source of middle-class stability, especially for black workers and their families. Good jobs and steady employment are critical during a time of crisis like the pandemic that's taken a harsh toll on communities of color, massive layoffs at the T are going to likely worsen the pandemic outcomes by pushing hundreds more in the joblessness and instability."

Veterans will be impacted as well, Walsh said. "The VA is always also providing COVID testing for our veterans where our veterans go to get tested. We're giving one message to go get tested, and the MBTA sending another message saying we're not going to take you there."

The mayor suggested the MBTA "be creative" to deal with budget gaps, and realign their priorities. He also proposed federal funding under the Biden administration may make the cuts unnecessary.

"The bottom line here is these cuts are just simply wrong. They would hurt workers, they would discourage ridership, it will slow our recovery, it will create a bigger problem down the road," said Walsh.

A vote on the proposed cuts is scheduled for December 14.

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