Jesse is frustrated by a crumbling transportation system that we have known has been failing us for years - a system that’s holding people back, contributing to economic inequality, fueling climate change, and making it harder for our economy to thrive.
And she’s even more frustrated by proposed “solutions,” which so far amount to putting a band-aid on a patient that needs emergency surgery.
Jesse’s frustration comes from beating this drum for so long, along with many other dedicated activists for transportation across the Commonwealth – many of whom have been making this case for decades. From advocating for micromobilty as a Select Board member in Brookline and leading the local push for Hubway (now BlueBikes), to working for Governor Patrick in the thick of the last big State House debate around transportation funding, to heading up the Alliance for Business Leadership and making the economic case for raising revenue from the most fortunate among us to invest in transportation infrastructure, Jesse has been repeating herself for a while now – calling on elected and civic leaders to take sweeping action to address this crisis.
She is no stranger to the frontlines of the fight for bold and equitable transportation solutions and she’s determined to take this fight to Congress, to give the people of the Fourth District a transportation system that will serve to lift people up, not hold them back.
By Jesse Mermell via Medium.com
“Transportation in Massachusetts: Putting Band-Aids on a Patient that Needs Surgery”
I’m frustrated. I’m frustrated by a crumbling transportation system that we have known has been failing us for years — a system that’s holding people back, contributing to economic inequality, fueling climate change, and making it harder for our economy to thrive. And I’m perhaps even more frustrated by proposed “solutions” which so far amount to putting a band-aid on a patient that desperately needs surgery.
Earlier this month, Governor Baker stood in Boston before many of the state’s most prominent business leaders trumpeting himself as the transportation governor. In his fifth year on the job, in the throes of a transportation crisis, he’s not talking about the bold and comprehensive change that report after report (including a recent one released by the Governor’s own Future of Transportation Commission) have called for over the course of decades. Instead, he’s talking signal lights on trains, minor league investments, and small scale versions of big solutions like rapid bus transit. All nice things, but steps that fall far short of the surgery necessary to save the patient.
Here’s Jesse’s vision to fix our transportation system
- Fighting for local control of transportation funding. Jesse would be a strong advocate for flexible dollars that can be used to address the transportation needs of local communities.
- Increasing federal investment for regional transit. Jesse will advocate for vastly increased federal funding for the two regional transit authorities in the District – the Southeastern Regional Transit Authority and Greater Attleboro-Taunton Regional Transit Authority. Additionally, she will continue Congressman Kennedy’s fight to complete construction on the Attleboro Transit Center.
- Working to ensure SouthCoast Rail is a reality and it is built all the way to the end of the proposed line, including Taunton and Fall River. As a former member of the statewide Rail Vision Advisory Committee, Jesse had the opportunity to study our Commuter Rail service and helped develop recommendations for the Department of Transportation and MBTA leadership about how we can reform the system to improve mobility and economic competitiveness. The recommendations included calls for complete electrification of the fleet and the immediate and full implementation of South Coast Rail.
- Supporting congestion pricing with accommodations for low-income workers. We need to implement congestion pricing, with free or discounted exemptions for low-income workers, to help us secure additional funds for the kind of transportation investment we need.
- Investing in transportation as a way to address the climate crisis. And we can tackle climate change by drastically reducing pollution caused by transportation. The transportation sector is currently the single biggest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in the Commonwealth and by investing in smarter public transit like electrified fleets, we can help to curb our carbon footprint.
Read Jesse’s blog post on transportation here.