BOSTON (WWLP) – The MBTA has drawn national scrutiny, but what needs to change?

Before COVID-19, the MBTA had plenty of budget issues, but since the pandemic, and now a decreased ridership, those problems have only grown. The T is seeing delayed trips, long wait times, and overcrowded platforms daily.

The pandemic changed ridership patterns, and the T is currently seeing fewer riders than they were pre-pandemic. This leaves the MBTA to find a way to pay for the needed investments with less fare revenue being generated.

The MBTA does receive funding through the state sales tax. According to the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, the T currently receives about 16% of total sales tax revenue. Meaning even those in Western Massachusetts, without MBTA access, are still paying for MBTA needs. However, Transportation for Massachusetts believes the MBTA benefits everyone across the state.

Peter Wilson from Transportation of Massachusetts stated, “What is the greater good for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and what does the T provide indirectly to cities and towns outside the service area when it just comes to like you know just being a driver of housing production, and taxes and revenue for the rest of the state.”

This past summer, the Federal Transit Administration released a scathing report concluding that the T had major safety deficiencies and that the Department of Public Utilities had been falling short of its responsibilities as an overseer.

As for funding, the Legislature has already authorized $666 million dollars to fix problems ordered by the FTA. As for staffing, the FTA estimates that the T needs as many as 2,000 more employees just to maintain its current status.