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As MBTA Issues Continue, Advocates Push for Transportation Funding Bill

They gathered at the state house Tuesday to urge lawmakers to support ideas such as congestion pricing, raising the gas tax and adding more fees to ride shares

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From the latest troubles on the MBTA to the constant traffic on the roads, transportation advocates are pushing for more investments, even if some of the money may have to come out of their pockets.

They gathered at the state house Tuesday to urge lawmakers to support ideas such as congestion pricing, raising the gas tax and adding more fees to ride shares. They said this could help generate the revenue needed to fix the transportation system and well as pump millions into the MBTA.

"We just need to get past this false notion that we don't have money. It's time to act," said Stacy Thompson, executive director of the Livable Streets Alliance.

Their call to action happened on the same day as a hearing on Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker's $18 billion bill that would allow for major transportation investments over the next five years.

"It would make the commonwealth's transportation system safer and more reliable," state transportation secretary Stephanie Pollack said during her testimony.

Frustration continues to rise on the MBTA due to riders dealing with several problems impacting their commutes.

However, even those in favor of it worry it does not go far enough.

"It relies on too much borrowing. It's basically kicking the problem down the road. Let's make more investments now so that we're fixing problems for people today and not just pushing these problems into the future," said Chris Dempsey, director of the Transportation for Massachusetts Advocacy Coalition.

The House is set to unveil a transportation bill in the coming days, but how exactly they plan to raise revenue is still unknown.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said he will support whatever they propose to get the system back on track.

"We can't put a Band-Aid on a problem that needs to be completely replaced," Walsh said. "I think we're going to continue to have these breakdowns and problems until we start to make major investments."

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