Come hear from Governor Maura Healey as she addresses Chamber members as the 73rd Governor of the Commonwealth.
9:45am - 11:00am
The Westin Copley
Hear from a panel of professionals on how apprenticeship programs are creating a more robust and diverse talent pipeline.
3:00pm - 5:00pm
Another Age Productions
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4:30pm - 8:00pm
Boston Convention and Exhibition Center
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Our Women’s Leadership Program enables you to take your leadership to the next level by arming you with the most in-demand leadership toolkit.
Our Boston’s Future Leaders (BFL) program provides emerging leaders with a socially conscious and civically engaged leadership toolkit, as well as the opportunity to apply their knowledge through experiential assignments.
City Awake empowers young professionals in a variety of ways that encourages these rising leaders to stay invested in the region’s future success.
We are developing an ecosystem of corporations and partners with the influence and buying power to transform economic inclusion for minority business enterprises (MBEs).
The Fierce Urgency of Now Festival brings Boston’s diverse young professionals together with business leaders, organizations and their peers to build connection, advance careers and ignite positive change.
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For nearly 30 years, the Chamber’s Women’s Network has connected female professionals of all background and career levels. Today, our Women’s Network is the largest in New England, strengthening the professional networks of women each year.
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July 12, 2021
Testimony of Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce Senior Vice President of Policy & Research Carolyn Ryan to the Senate Committee on Reimagining Massachusetts Post-Pandemic Resiliency
Senator Hinds, members of the Senate Committee on Reimagining Massachusetts Post-Pandemic Resiliency, thank you for inviting the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce to participate in this hearing. My name is Carolyn Ryan, and I’m the Senior Vice President for Policy & Research at the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce.
The Chamber has long held that transportation is an underpinning of our economy and it can help to thrust it forward or drag it down. In late 2019, we released an agenda that we titled “Future Ready Transportation” because, even before the pandemic, we recognized the need to prepare and adapt to changing transportation demands. We defined a future ready system as one that is prepared for shifts in climate, the economy and commerce, and technology. Despite the generational change that occurred over the last year many of the fundamental principles still apply.
One of the most significant changes in the last 18 months is the shift to remote work, but the Chamber does not believe that remote work will solve our transportation and commuting challenges. One reason for this is that there are hundreds of thousands of workers around the state who simply cannot work from home permanently. Hospitals, restaurants, manufacturers, and construction sites all need to operate with in-person teams. Other industries will not rely on remote work as a long-term option. Courts, colleges and universities, cultural institutions, and sports and entertainment venues will return to largely in person activities.
And while remote work may provide modest relief on some days, traffic counts are already creeping up to pre-pandemic levels. Traffic and public transit ridership will only increase further in the coming months when more employers return to workplaces. So, many of the challenges that existed pre-pandemic will still be there come September, October, and beyond.
However, federal COVID relief funds, and the potential for additional funds through a federal infrastructure bill, are creating a once-in-a-generation opportunity to invest in transportation, both public transit and roads and bridges. These funds should be deployed to improve reliability and access, reduce emissions, reduce congestion, and improve road conditions.
First and foremost, we need a 21st century pricing plan. Last year, both the House and Senate voted to create a 21st Century Roadway Pricing Commission, which the Chamber initially proposed in 2019. This commission would identify the physical, technological, and legal requirements for statewide tolling and study scenarios. The Governor vetoed the Commission so it did not move forward. We believe this commission and thinking about how we price mobility is still important.
Second, one very clear way to infuse equity into a transportation plan is to invest in public transit, both MBTA and the RTAs. These investments have the added benefit of helping to reduce emissions and congestion.
Regional Transit Authorities
The Chamber also recognizes that public transit isn’t just in Boston. RTAs will play a crucial role in ensuring that everyone in Massachusetts has access to public transportation.
The Chamber continues to support increasing TNC fees and dedicating a portion of fee revenue to RTAs. This will raise needed revenue while also incentivizing the use of shared or public transportation options, which can in turn reduce congestion.
Additionally, many recommendations from the 2019 RTA Task Force have yet to be formally adopted. This report serves as a good starting point for the Legislature as it thinks about improvements to the state’s 15 RTAs. In particular, the Chamber supports:
Roads and Bridges
There are other transportation investments that can have a tangible impact on Massachusetts residents. Major and necessary transportation projects around the state total in the billions. Federal funding can move these forward to reduce congestion, support the movement of goods, and improve road conditions. These projects include 495/Mass Pike interchange; Route 91 reconstruction in Springfield; the Cape Cod bridges; and pavement all over the state. Statewide, we have hundreds of bridges in need of repair. The state can renew its accelerated bridge program to make rapid repairs with minimal disruption.
Lastly, the Chamber encourages the committee to think about transportation as strategic driver in our state’s economy. Instead of the lack of reliable transportation and long commutes being part of the housing problem, make transportation part of the solution. Instead of relying on work from home to reduce demand, create a system that is prepared for growth. Take advantage of this once-in-a-generation opportunity to give Massachusetts a 21st century transportation system.
Senior Vice President, Policy & Research