Lawrence eliminates fares on 3 bus routes

Once fanciful idea of free service picks up steam

IN A BID TO BOOST public transit ridership, Lawrence on Monday started allowing residents to ride three downtown bus routes for free. The city is providing $225,000 to the Merrimack Valley Regional Transit Authority to offset the fare losses from the bus routes for the next two years. The routes – 34, 37, and 85

T urged to experiment with income-based commuter rail fares

MassINC also backs lower prices for reverse commuting, off-peak travel

THE MBTA SHOULD EXPERIMENT with income-based fares and cut charges for reverse-commuting and off-peak travel, the think tank MassINC argues in a new policy brief. The brief doesn’t advocate for specific commuter rail fares, but notes that the cost of travel between most Gateway Cities and Boston is way too high. The fare cost as

‘No more real newspaper’ in Worcester

Cuts turning Telegram into a ‘ghost newspaper’

THE “GHOST NEWSPAPER” ERA has arrived in Massachusetts, and the worst is almost certainly yet to come. The state has not yet been hit with vast news deserts, the term of the media moment to describe areas without any newspaper presence following the closure of more than 1,800 US papers since 2004. But the land is

Mayors of Salem, Holyoke call for carbon fee

70% of revenue would go back to homeowners, businesses

WE ARE THE MAYORS of Salem and Holyoke, two medium-sized Gateway Cities. Our communities are more than 100 miles apart, but both are feeling the impacts of climate change. We are experiencing severe storms, unpredictable flooding, drought, and damage to homes, businesses, roads, and infrastructure.  Climate change is disrupting city operations and straining budgets. In

Alex Morse wants to change how Washington works

Holyoke mayor says Richie Neal wields power, but for whom?

ALEX MORSE, the 30-year-old mayor of Holyoke, may look like he’s on a fool’s errand by challenging Rep. Richard Neal in next year’s Democratic primary. After all, just seven months ago Neal’s three decades of toil in the DC vineyards landed him in one of the most powerful positions in the House, chairman of the tax

T has extra $1.2b: How would you spend it?

Agency is holding off, saying it lacks organizational capacity

IT HASN’T RECEIVED a lot of attention, but the MBTA has an extra $1.2 billion in untapped capital funds at its disposal. The agency’s five-year capital spending plan has $9.4 billion in funding sources but only $8.2 billion in planned spending. T General Manager Steve Poftak said in May that he would like to spend

In Holyoke, arts education takes front seat

Non-profit helps integrate creativity into the regular curriculum

SIX-YEAR-OLD JUAN patted an inflatable ball as he peered out of his blue-rimmed glasses. Which way to send the ball? What could he knock down? Juan was playing “human bowling” in Kat Lorenzi’s kindergarten class in Holyoke. The objective was to get the ball to bounce off a few of his classmates, and figure out

DeLeo ups T ante, pledges long-term fix

Speaker says the MBTA system is in crisis

SAYING THE MBTA is “in crisis,” House Speaker Robert DeLeo said the House is willing to work with Gov. Charlie Baker on a short-term fix but remains focused on a long-term plan and the revenue to make it a reality. The Winthrop Democrat, who often sees eye to eye with Baker on financial issues, issued

Riley casts vision for education change

Says 'deeper learning,' new assessments should be part of next chapter

WHEN JEFF RILEY took the reins as state education commissioner early last year he suggested it was time to turn the page on 25 years of education reform efforts, pointing to stalled achievement scores, a stubbornly persistent achievement gap, and an unhealthy focus on testing. But exactly what he had in mind for the next

Keeping politics in check

Sportsmanship trumps partisanship at chess tourney

I’M AT CARRIE NATION, a prohibition-era themed Beacon Hill bar just down the street from the Massachusetts State House. On an island of tables floating between a legislative fundraiser in the front room and a bar full of power drinks after work, there are eight chess games underway. The room is noisy with friendly conversation

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