Report: 21st Century Transportation

Connecting the Commonwealth

Key Public Transportation Projects and Their Benefits for Massachusetts
Released by: MASSPIRG Education Fund

Massachusetts’ transportation system is in trouble. High gasoline prices are draining consumers’ pocketbooks, traffic congestion wastes valuable time and energy, and our cars and trucks produce pollution that harms Bay Staters’ health and contributes to global warming.

Public transportation makes a vital contribution to Massachusetts’ transportation system, relieving congestion, reducing our dependence on oil, curbing pollution, stimulating the economy, and helping to sustain healthy, vibrant communities.

While Massachusetts has made many important transit investments over the last several decades, many important projects have been left on the drawing board.

Massachusetts needs a transportation system that meets the needs of the 21st century—one in which public transportation plays an even bigger role than it does today. To get there, we need to start investing now in critical public transportation projects.

Massachusetts residents drive more miles, spend more on gasoline, experience more congestion, and produce more global warming pollution from transportation than they did two decades ago.

• Vehicle travel on the Commonwealth’s highways increased by approximately 57 percent between 1980 and 2007. The number of vehicle miles traveled per person has increased by 39 percent over that same period of time.

• Massachusetts residents spent about $4.3 billion more on gasoline in 2007 than they did in 1998, a product of more miles being driven in less efficient vehicles, coupled with higher gasoline prices.

• Congestion on Bay State roads has continued to get worse. In 2005, Boston area residents spent about 93 million hours in traffic delays, while congestion cost the area’s economy about $1.8 billion.

• Transportation is a leading source of global warming pollution in Massachusetts. Massachusetts’ transportation system produced 19 percent more carbon dioxide in 2005 than it did in 1990.

Read the rest in the report.

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