WRTA bus


8:30 a.m. | Senate President Karen Spilka talks regional priorities at the MetroWest Visitors Bureau's legislative breakfast. | Warren Conference Center and Inn, 529 Chestnut St., Ashland

8:30. a.m. | A Better City hosts a panel discussion about the infrastructure megaproject in Allston and the economic and mobility benefits it's designed to bring. | 290 Congress St., Fort Point Room, Boston

10 a.m. | Gov. Maura Healey tours Jewish Vocational Service Boston and issues a proclamation for World Refugee Day. | 75 Federal Street, Suite 3, Boston

11 a.m. | Congresswoman Katherine Clark, the number-two Democrat in the U.S. House, hosts other elected and appointed officials for a tour and roundtable at the Greater Boston Joint Apprenticeship Training Center. | JATC Electrical Training Center, 194 Freeport St., Dorchester

1:30 p.m. | Gov. Maura Healey meets with the Black and Latino Legislative Caucus along with Lt. Gov. Driscoll. | State House

There’s traction building for fare-free transit on Beacon Hill, where lawmakers are on track to deliver a large boost in funding to the commonwealth’s 15 regional transit agencies.

Exactly how much more is coming to RTAs is still up in the air with lawmakers locked in closed-door conference committee negotiations hashing out differences in budget bills passed by the House and Senate.

Hanging in the balance is the fate of a $15 million Senate proposal to fund a six-month, fare-free test on each of the RTA’s bus systems that transit advocates say could either pave the way or throw a roadblock in front of a statewide push for no-cost public transit.

Fare-free transit supporters hope the experiment could build up data that make their case. Experts say the numbers already look good in two RTA systems that launched pilots on their own. Worcester saw a 140% bump in ridership after going fare-free on buses. The WRTA advisory board voted unanimously this spring to keep buses free through June 2024. The Merrimack Valley Regional Transit Authority also saw a boost in ridership after taking the fare collection boxes off local buses. Metro-area cities, led by Boston Mayor Michelle Wu and her mission to “Free the T” have signaled they’re all aboard. But lawmakers appear to want to wait.

Senators spiked a similar plan to make MBTA buses free during the budget debate. Somerville Sen. Patricia Jehlen withdrew the amendment due to lacking support for the program with an $8 million price tag.

Discounting transit fares cuts to the heart of the state’s affordability crisis. Transportation costs eat up roughly 15% of Bay Staters’ income on average, Census data show. Reliable and accessible mass transit could help meet decarbonization goals. There’s also an equity case for cutting transit costs in a city and region with wide wealth gaps along racial lines.

But as with most significant policy shifts, the road to totally free transit — if it ever happens — is likely to be a slow roll. 

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Keller at Large

Special commission reports serve a valuable purpose on Beacon Hiil — holding up the shelves of other special reports in the State Library, says WBZ political analyst Jon Keller. Today lawmakers will entertain report requests to study proteins and housing needs. But Keller asks, are these really the moves that will set us up to thrive and support an ever-expanding budget?


Suffolk DA places official on leave over antisemitic remarks

An official for the Suffolk district attorney’s office who allegedly made antisemitic remarks during a 2016 interview on an Internet radio show produced by followers of the Nation of Islam has been placed on paid administrative leave, according to a spokesperson for the office. True-See S. Allah, who was named director of Community Engagement/Strategic Partnerships at the district attorney’s office in June 2022, will be on leave during a review of the remarks, a spokesman said.

The Boston Globe

Mayor’s race gets ugly in Haverhill

The Haverhill mayor’s race has taken a turn after unsavory comments allegedly made by School Committee member and mayoral candidate Scott Wood that were detailed in two background checks for police jobs surfaced in a WHAV report last week, writes Mike LaBella for The Eagle Tribune. Wood is now suing the city for leaking the content of one of the background checks, which he claims cost him police jobs in Haverhill and Wenham. 

The Eagle Tribune

Bar fight: Boston pub counter-sues Washington pub with same name demanding it change its name

The Dubliner in Center Plaza downtown won’t give up its name without a fight, reports Universal Hub. The Boston pub filed a countersuit today against an older Dubliner pub in Washington, DC that is demanding the Boston bar change its name. The DC Dubliner filed a trademark-infringement suit against the Boston Dubliner, which opened last year where the Kinsale used to be. In its countersuit, filed in US District Court in Boston, the Boston Dubliner said, basically: Have you looked around at how many other bars already use the Dubliner name? Spoiler alert: It’s a lot.

Universal Hub

Donald Trump and Massachusetts national guardsman accused of breaking the same law

Former President Donald Trump and the low-ranking National Guardsman accused of leaking highly classified documents on discord stand accused of breaking the same law, reports Mike Damiano for The Boston Globe. Trump is accused of stashing papers in bankers boxes. Both now face federal prosecutions under the same provision of the Espionage Act of 1917, a law the government has used for decades to lock up spies and leakers of government secrets. 

The Boston Globe

Inside scoop: Here’s why Marty Walsh did Biden for the NHL

Boston’s former Mayor Marty Walsh was in a comfortable spot in President Biden’s Cabinet as labor secretary when he got a call about running the NHL Players’ Association, reports the Associated Press. The longtime Bruins fan was intrigued and earlier this year accepted the role as executive director. Now three months in, Walsh is trying to get to know players and what they care about most.

AP News

Boston mayor nixes council cuts to city departments

A $4.2 billion operating budget approved last week by Boston city councilors didn’t pass muster with Mayor Michelle Wu, who on Friday rejected councilors’ proposed cuts to Boston Police and a host of other city departments, including veterans affairs and the Boston Public Library. Councilors sought to cut $31 million from the police and $900,000 from veterans services. In a letter to the City Council on Friday, Wu said the cut to police was “illusory,” because the city is “obligated to cover salary and overtime expenses incurred by the department.”

Dorchester Reporter

Ex-head of Legal Sea Foods backs lobstermen suit

The former head of Legal Sea Foods is calling out organizations that say people shouldn’t eat certain fish because of the dangers fishing may pose to aquatic animals, reports Lance Reynolds for The Boston Herald. He’s backing the Massachusetts lobstermen who in March sued groups for defamatory remarks against eating lobster and seeking $75,000 in damages. California’s Monterey Bay Aquarium and the international Marine Stewardship Council last September made a plea for people to stop eating lobster.

The Boston Herald

Scorned lover tips feds off to Harvard body part scheme

It was a tip from an ex-lover that led federal investigators to become aware of the alleged scheme at Harvard’s morgue where a manager is accused of harvesting and selling body parts for profit, reports Dugan Arnett and Sean Cotter for The Boston Globe. Federal and state court documents, as well as interviews, lay out the unlikely origins of the grisly case.

The Boston Globe

Ban the bans: Hawkins bill would make sure books stay in libraries 

Attleboro Rep. Jim Hawkins and two co-sponsors are proposing legislation that would protect the state’s library collections by preventing the banning of books, a bill prompted by the growing number of calls both nationally and in the Bay State to limit certain materials, George Rhodes of the Sun-Chronicle reports. 

The Sun Chronicle

North Brookfield Pride uproar draws national attention as recall effort fizzles out

A push to recall two elected officials and cancel the upcoming Pride Festival in town has apparently fizzled out, with none of the three petitions circulating ever submitted to the town. Meanwhile, organizers of the festival say a town official removed small pride flags they installed to decorate the community ahead of the event and a planned visit from NBC News focusing on the festival and the pushback it received from the community.

Telegram & Gazette | MassLive

Uncertain summer: Emergency teaching licenses granted in pandemic starting to expire 

Colin Hogan of the New Bedford Light digs into the uncertainty facing the state’s school districts as emergency teaching licenses issued and renewed during the pandemic are set to expire for good later this year. New Bedford alone initially issued non-renewal notices to 100 teachers over license expirations, though some of those have since applied to return in the fall. 

New Bedford Light

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Erin Tiernan was a Editor and Author of MASSterList