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Local Business Leaders Warn About Proposed MBTA Service Cuts

In this photo taken May 24, 2011, a commuter train leaves the MBTA station in Andover, Mass. (AP)

BOSTON — A group of Boston business leaders is speaking out against proposed fare hikes and service cuts by the MBTA.

The group, known as A Better City, warns that current proposals could hurt the local economy. They are calling for the state to give more funding to the MBTA, which is trying to close a $161 million budget gap.

Larry DiCara, chair of A Better City, an attorney at Nixon Peabody and a former Boston city councilor, joined WBUR’s Morning Edition to discuss the organization’s ideas.

“Business leaders across the city understand that some fair hikes are necessary but they also realize that the kinds of service cuts that have been suggested could be devastating,” DiCara said. “Every business in Boston relies upon the T to get people to work, and that includes the folks both at the top and at the bottom.”

DiCara and A Better City are suggesting a short-term solution that includes “acceptable” fare hikes, minimal service cuts and more funding from the state.

“Some money perhaps from the snow fund, since we haven’t had much snow this winter, and then, more importantly, a long-term solution, probably effective within a year, which can put the T on a good financial footing going forward,” DiCara said.

A long-term plan, according to DiCara, must include finding more diverse sources of revenue for the MBTA.

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