Governor Baker Announces $83.7 Million MBTA Winter Resiliency Plan
Urges legislature to act on reform legislation to improve MBTA finances and operations
BOSTON – Today, Governor Charlie Baker, Secretary of Transportation Stephanie Pollack and Interim MBTA General Manager Frank DePaola announced an $83.7 million MBTA Winter Resiliency Plan for investments this summer and over the next five years in snow removal equipment, infrastructure upgrades and operations during harsh weather to improve service reliability. Governor Baker also stressed the need for legislative action on An Act for a Reliable, Sustainable MBTA to secure long term improvements at the T.
“In the event of another harsh winter, it is critical we are prepared. We also hope the legislature will act before the end of this session to deliver the reforms necessary to address the underlying financial and management challenges at the MBTA,” said Governor Baker. “These investments and contingency plans are important for day-to-day operations and emergency service. But, without the flexibility and dedicated oversight of a Fiscal Management and Control Board and the reforms we outlined, the T will continue to fail its stress tests for commuters and taxpayers who deserve a reliable world class transit system.”
“Fixing the T will require significant reforms and we must focus more directly on the MBTA’s governance, budgeting and contracting and procurement methods,” said Secretary of Transportation Stephanie Pollack. “As we continue to work with the legislature to achieve the flexibility that is necessary, this dedicated resiliency plan is a first step towards short-term upgrades to improve response and recovery efforts.”
The new resiliency plan was developed based on recommendations by an American Public Transportation Association (APTA) peer review of the MBTA’s winter operations in April, while a special panel appointed by the Governor reviewed and made recommendations to fix the MBTA’s deeper structural, financial and operational problems.
“We learned last winter that in addition to structural reforms, the MBTA needs meaningful improvements to its snow resiliency efforts, including upgrades to infrastructure, operations and equipment,” said Interim MBTA General Manager Frank DePaola. “As we continue to work with the administration and our peer agencies to improve service reliability, we look forward to implementing these plans that are essential to reducing the amount and length of service disruptions during severe weather.”
The $83.7 million MBTA Winter Resiliency Plan will be funded through $62 million in federal formula funds for capital investments, $10 million in non-federal, MBTA capital funds, and $11.7 million in operating funds. The plan will be presented to the MassDOT Board for approval next week and focus on the following priorities to more effectively mitigate the frequency, length and magnitude of system disruptions to public transit during severe weather.
The right of way improvements on the Orange and Red Lines will be scheduled to occur this summer and fall and the MBTA will notify customers of any service impacts required to enable the upgrades as these projects are implemented.
In April, Governor Baker filed legislation based on the special panel’s recommendations to establish a Fiscal Management and Control Board (FMCB) and Chief Administrator to oversee the MBTA’s operations and finances, create capital plans and expand the MassDOT Board. An Act for a Reliable, Sustainable MBTA also introduces reporting and audit requirements and lifts procurement restrictions on the MBTA.