PVTA

WAMC

The snow from the record-setting winter in Massachusetts has melted, but officials in Springfield are still working to settle the issue of who is responsible for clearing snow from public transit bus stops.  It appears, however, a resolution is close at hand.

Progress is being made on a plan that will ensure people will not have to climb over mounds of snow at bus stops or wait in the street to catch a bus next winter, according to Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno and the administrator of the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority.

WAMC

Municipalities in Massachusetts can levy fines against homeowners and businesses for failing to remove snow from public sidewalks in a timely manner. But there is a gray area when it comes to who is responsible for clearing snow from public transit bus stops.  Officials in Springfield are looking to address it.

Springfield City Councilor Bud Williams is sponsoring home rule legislation that would allow the city to fine the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority for failing to remove snow or ice from its bus stops within 24 hours after a storm.  The fine would be $200 per violation.

Ridership rose dramatically on Pioneer Valley Transit Authority buses after Massachusetts state-financed service changes took effect earlier this year.  Nationally, it appears public transit is growing more popular.

   Ridership jumped 12 percent in September and 9 percent in October as the state’s second-largest transit authority rolled out the biggest change in fixed-route bus schedules in nearly a decade.  PVTA Administrator Mary MacInnes said she was thrilled by the latest ridership data.

WAMC

Extensive state-financed service changes are being rolled out later this month at the largest regional transit authority in western Massachusetts.   Pioneer Valley Transit Authority riders are being promised faster, more efficient, and cost-effective service.      

The changes include seven new routes, longer hours of service – mostly on the weekends – on 14 routes, and buses running more frequently on 15 routes.  This will be the transit authority’s biggest change in fixed-route bus schedules in nearly a decade, according to PVTA Administrator Mary MacInnes.

WAMC

State Transportation Secretary Richard Davey is pressing the Massachusetts Senate to approve a transportation bond bill as a new construction season approaches.  The $12.7 billion bond bill approved earlier this month in a unanimous vote in the Massachusetts House includes funding for some long-sought projects in western Massachusetts.

WAMC

State legislators in Massachusetts are working to write a transportation bond bill. Funding is being sought for a couple of major transportation projects in Springfield.

   The Pioneer Valley Transit Authority hopes to get state money to build a new maintenance and operations facility to replace a 100 –year- old former trolley barn that the administrator of the authority says is obsolete and too small to repair modern buses.  Also an urgent need is seen to begin work to replace the aging elevated section of Interstate 91 in downtown Springfield.  

The Massachusetts Senate on Thursday is expected to take up a transportation finance bill.

The Senate leadership is proposing to add $120 million to the $500 million dollar transportation bill approved earlier this week in the Massachusetts House.  The Senate bill calls for the same tax increases as the House including a 3 cent per gallon increase in the gasoline tax.  The additional money would come from existing revenue streams.  Republican State Senator Michael Knapik says higher taxes is a hard sell to the public

WAMC

The  $500 million tax bill approved this week by the Massachusetts House to fund transportation should address the immediate financial needs of the state’s 14 regional transit authorities.  But advocates for public transportation say it is a regressive approach that does not meet the demand for more bus and train service. 

WAMC

The Massachusetts House of Representatives is poised to vote on raising taxes, including a 3 cent increase in the gasoline tax, to fund the state’s transportation system.

   The $500 million dollar tax increase faces an uncertain fate in the Massachusetts Senate, according to Democratic State Senator James Welch of West Springfield.

WAMC

Operators of the largest public transit system in western Massachusetts are not planning to hike fares or cut service to close a projected budget gap.  The expectation is that there will be more state funding for the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority and the rest of the state’s regional transit systems.

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