August 23, 2020

Personal Background

  • Jen has been commuting on the MBTA for thirty years, and that has provided her a front-row seat to the declining state of our public transit. Jen’s child takes the T to school, and her boyfriend uses his bike and the T as his primary way to get to work. The T was once a reliable way to get to work, and it is now plagued with delays, fires, derailments and safety issues. 

Public Transportation

  • Jen understands that in recent years, the MBTA and public transportation across the state have become utterly unreliable—including wait times that have skyrocketed, dilapidated hygiene practices, as well as price hikes that don’t work for the working class people who rely on the T. 
  • Jen knows that especially for already vulnerable populations like people of color, low-income people, and essential workers, these issues only become magnified, which is why they must be dealt with in a serious, deliberate, and innovative fashion in order to have a strong and bustling economy and middle class.
  • Jen pledges that from day one she will make it her number one goal to address the fiscal and service crisis on the T, and to make fares on MBTA buses free for all who ride in order to address long-standing inequities in service.
  • Jen is dedicated to a total overhaul and modernization of our system, and the electrification of our trains.
    • Many of the trains that we ride are long past their expected useful life, and this equipment–and the rails themselves–must be replaced in order to get to normal and reliable service again. 
    • We must electrify our trains and buses so that we can eliminate a major source of pollution that causes asthma and respiratory illness in areas near highways and bus routes. Idling buses in urban areas lead to high rates of particulate matter in the air, and this is causing people, especially children and elders, to have respiratory crises. The emissions from transit also worsen greenhouse gases. 
    • The problem will also require that we install new cars, buses, and infrastructure.
  • Since public transportation is crucial in the survival and thriving of the low and moderate income populations in Massachusetts, Jen will push to create affordable housing close to T stations, “transit-oriented development”, so that people without cars can get to work, and those with them can instead choose to rely on public transit.
    • In recent studies, it has been found that if the density near transit stops was increased by a mere 10 units per acre, 253,000 new houses with access to public transportation would be constructed, which would cut back on emissions and solve many workers’ difficulty in getting to work.
    • The district has a number of triple-deckers and duplexes that provide density and good quality of life. We should allow more of these units to be constructed to give options to young families, first-time home buyers, and moderate and low-income renters. 
    • Affordable housing provides permanency for families and communities, decreasing the risk that low-income families will become homeless if they suffer a job loss or medical crisis. 
  • We must decrease prices and increase reliability of our commuter rail as well, to provide the option to more commuters and students who want to cut back on emissions or want to cut expenses.
  • Jen recognizes that these bold solutions will require funding, which is why she supports asking corporations and millionaires to chip in more, with new tax revenue dedicated to transit. Jen will also support carbon taxes and gas tax increases up to 25 cents per gallon, if they are tied to supports for low-income people who must drive for work or other reasons.


Paid for by Committee to Elect Jen Fries

Paid for by the Committee to Elect Jen Fries