OccupyMBTA will be holding its first assembly at Camp Charlie, the ten day occupation established yesterday on the steps of the Massachusetts State House. Below is the tentative agenda. Please join us at 8:00pm tonight!
1. Why we’re here
It’s useful to get a quick overview of what, exactly, is going on with the T, and why this framing – a 10 day occupation ending on the 14th – matters. The current proposal includes a 23% fare hike to balance this year’s budget, but will leave the MBTA with an anticipated deficit of $100 million next year. Over the years, the MBTA’s financial viability has been wrecked by Big Dig debt, forward funding, and interest rate swaps ($26 million owed annually to Wall Street banks); the MBTA now possesses a total debt load of $5.2 billion and counting.
2. Our demands – as they stand now – are threefold.
First, the legislature must step in to fill this year’s $91 million budget gap – not with hikes (as proposed), but with money from the state budget. Second, the legislature must commit NOW to a comprehensive transit plan for the state of Massachusetts, not one that pits riders from one region against each other, but one which works to build an equitable transit system for the whole state. Third, they have to do this without privatizing it piece by piece. Public transit is not an asset to be sold for a quick dollar; it’s a right, and it should stay in public hands.
There’s a lot of space under here for the how, where, and why – which is what we’re hoping to piece out in this discussion.
3. What we can do in the next ten days to drive the message home.
An action assembly to talk about plans, strategies, and next steps (and how you can help!)