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Protesters block traffic outside Mass. Statehouse


BOSTON (AP) - A group of seniors and people with disabilities used their wheelchairs to shut down traffic in front of the Statehouse minutes before the Massachusetts House was set to debate a major transportation bill.

The protesters are calling on lawmakers to roll back fares for MBTA's door-to-door paratransit service known as The RIDE. The fares were doubled last year.

Police arrested four protesters and quickly re-opened Beacon Street.

The bill being considered Monday would raise more than $500 million in new tax revenue, including a 3 cent hike in the state's gasoline tax.

Legislative leaders say the measure would help close the MBTA's annual operating deficit and put regional transit systems on a sounder financial footing.

Gov. Deval Patrick has said he'll veto the bill if it reaches his desk unchanged.