The Impact of Transit Cuts on Equitable Development

FRI, JAN 22, 2021 (56:40)

In December 2020, the MBTA approved widespread cuts to bus and commuter rail service despite objections from officials and transit advocates. Starting in January, twenty bus lines will be shut down, and weekend commuter rail service will end for communities along the Fitchburg, Franklin, Greenbush, Haverhill, Kingston/Plymouth, Lowell and Needham lines.

What impacts will the cuts have on the Commonwealth’s pandemic recovery? Many lawmakers, transportation advocates and Gateway City business owners say public transit is essential for equitable and enduring pandemic navigation - both in terms of public health and the economy. But with the grim realities of budget shortfalls from the pandemic, transit agencies across the country face similar cuts.

Join GBH transit reporter Bob Seay, MassINC’s transit-oriented development fellow Dr. Tracy Corley, Steven Higashide of TransitCenter, State Representative Andy Vargas for the 3rd Essex District in the Massachusetts House of Representatives, and Will Dickerson, the executive director of Brockton Interfaith Community, as they discuss the immediate and long-term impacts of service cuts and how they will impact communities across the state and nation differently.

+ BIO: William Dickerson II

William Dickerson is the executive director of the Brockton Interfaith Community (BIC), a multi-faith, multi-ethnic non-profit organization representing greater Brockton. Their mission is to work collaboratively on issues chosen together to promote racial and economic justice through prophetic, faith-rooted community organizing.

He is also an activist and a founding member of DARRC group whose goals are to “Demilitarize, Accountability, Reallocate, Reimagine Community.”

+ BIO: Andy Vargas

Andy X. Vargas was elected first in 2017 to serve as State Representative for the 3rd Essex District (MA House).

In the past, Andy served as a White House intern under the Obama Administration. While at the White House, Andy researched and wrote on issues pertaining to immigration, the economy, Latin America, and more.

Rep. Vargas also worked at Entrepreneurship for All (EforAll) as the Senior Marketing Manager where he supported early-stage startups in mid-sized cities across the Commonwealth. Andy was previously elected to the Haverhill City Council when he was 22. His time on the City Council was marked by strong advocacy for economic development, education, financial transparency, and support for public safety.

+ BIO: Steven Higashide

Steven Higashide is Director of Research for TransitCenter, a New-York-based foundation that supports innovations in urban transportation across the country. He directs TransitCenter’s research aimed at measuring American attitudes toward public transit, and develops policy guides and workshops that help cities enact transit-supportive policy. His research has been widely cited by mainstream and industry media, including the Washington Post, Vox, and Wired. In 2016 he was named to the Association for Commuter Transportation’s “40 Under 40.” He was previously senior planner for the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, where he watchdogged Connecticut state transportation policy and helped pass laws protecting transportation funding and vulnerable road users. Steven holds a B.A. from New York University and a Masters in Urban Planning from NYU’s Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.

+ BIO: Bob Seay

Bob Seay is the transportation reporter for WGBH News.

He formerly hosted Morning Edition for WGBH News, and has worked as a broadcast journalist for more than three decades. Before joining WGBH in October 2010, Bob was Morning Edition host at Rhode Island Public Radio and the director of community radio station WOMR in Provincetown. For more than 15 years, he was the news and public affairs director at WQRC in Hyannis covering Cape Cod and the islands. Bob has also worked as a host on WBUR.

+ BIO: Tracy A. Corley, PhD

Dr. Tracy A. Corley, MassINC’s Transit-Oriented Development Fellow, thrives on creating economic opportunities and sustainable livelihoods for people in our world’s metropolitan regions. She brings expertise in economic development, business, labor markets, architecture, law, and public policy to MassINC. As the TOD Fellow, she convenes political and community leaders to spur inclusive development in Massachusetts’ Gateway Cities.

Prior to joining MassINC, Dr. Corley split time between Boston and the German Rhineland, conducting doctoral research on informal work in Germany’s skilled trades and crafts sector. She obtained multiple grants for this research, including German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) funding. The Berlin Social Science Center (WZB), Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies (MPIfG), and Institute for Labor, Skills and Training (IAQ) hosted her during her investigations in Germany.

Previously, Dr. Corley lived in Seattle, Washington, where she coordinated strategy and planning for Seattle Jobs Initiative, founded two consulting firms, and served as the Vice Chair of Small Business on the Seattle Chamber of Commerce Board of Trustees. Her diverse experience included work in sustainability, energy efficiency, clean technology, finance, banking, and telecommunications. She has also worked as an architect and graphic designer in Seattle, WA, and Greenville, SC.

Dr. Corley attained her B.A. in Architecture Design from Clemson University in 1995 and her M.S. in Public Policy and Ph.D. in Law and Public Policy from Northeastern University in 2018.

TTOD "Transformative Transit-Oriented Development" Talks