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MA Advocates for Public Transit Praise Biden Infrastructure Plan

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The American Jobs Plan includes $80 billion for reliable passenger and freight rail service. (JCG/Adobe Stock)
The American Jobs Plan includes $80 billion for reliable passenger and freight rail service. (JCG/Adobe Stock)
 By Lily Bohlke - Producer, Contact
April 5, 2021

BOSTON -- Advocates for better transportation policy say President Joe Biden's infrastructure plan could go a long way toward not only fixing roads and bridges but making streets safer and greener.

The American Jobs Plan would provide more than $2 trillion over eight years for infrastructure, from drinking-water systems to broadband access and the power grid, as well as roads, bridges and public transit systems.

Chris Dempsey, director of the Transportation For Massachusetts Advocacy Coalition, said the Commonwealth has one of the worst-performing transportation systems in the country.

"We have structurally deficient bridges; we have transit systems that break down and don't get people where they need to go," Dempsey outlined. "Transportation is the largest source of greenhouse-gas emissions of any sector of our economy."

Air pollution from transportation leads to public health issues, most often in low-income and Black, Brown and Indigenous communities.

Dempsey pointed out the plan has incentives for electric vehicles and more charging stations, as well as funds to modernize public transit.

Dempsey noted there are many projects the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority or regional transit authorities could take up, as well as a potential intercity rail service between Boston, Worcester and Springfield.

And Amtrak revealed a plan to expand and enhance its service throughout the Northeast, from Boston to Albany, New York, to Hartford, Connecticut, as well as up through Vermont to Montreal.

"Those rail projects can be challenging, and they can be expensive," Dempsey acknowledged. "But those types of projects get into the mix and into the conversation when you have the scale of investment, the billions of dollars of investment that President Biden is proposing."

Dempsey noted road safety, such as improving sidewalks and adding bike lanes, is another emphasis of the plan. He added far too many cyclists and pedestrians are killed or injured in automobile accidents, and investments are long overdue.

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