The power of the 99%: MBTA scraps initial draconian proposals; activists vow to escalate fight for public transit!

After an uprising from the 99%, MBTA General Manager Jonathan Davis announced last night that neither of the agency’s proposals to slash service, raise fare hikes, and layoff hundreds of workers will be adopted. No details for the new proposal have been released. On January 3, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) released two proposals – both a toxic mixture of draconian service cuts and unacceptable fare hikes – to close the MBTA’s $161 million deficit for the coming fiscal year. But thousands of members of the 99% – including members of Occupy the MBTA and other advocates for seniors, the disabled, students, workers, low-income communities, and the environment – flooded public hearings and rallied to tell the MBTA, “No Hikes! No Cuts! No Layoffs!”

The MBTA’s retreat demonstrates the growing power of the 99% movement, but our work is far from done. We will not accept any plan that attempts that attempt to balance the MBTA’s books on the backs of those who can afford it the least. We will continue to demonstrate, speak-out, and Occupy to ensure that the MBTA’s final proposal does not include any cuts to service, layoffs or fare increases and to demand that the legislature develop a comprehensive, affordable, and sustainable transportation plan that works for the 99%. Public transportation is a right and must be accessible to all.

Since January 31, over 6,000 people have attended 31 public hearings about the MBTA’s proposals, according to the Boston Globe. In addition, a coalition of organizations including OccupyMBTA, Mass Senior Action, the T Riders Union, Students Against T Cuts, the Save the T coalition, MassUniting, Occupy Boston, Occupy Somerville, Occupy JP and many more have taken to the streets over the last two months to raise awareness and organize opposition to the proposed fare hikes, service cuts and layoffs. Members of these organizations and the broader 99% organized several major marches and rallies, mic-checked on trains, and spread the message through flyering and social media.

Let’s keep the pressure on! Join us on tomorrow at 12:30 as we rally inside and outside of the MassDot board meeting. And on April 4, we’ll bring our message to the State House (think Wisconsin!) for a people’s hearing and rally as part of our national call to action on public transportation.

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