Re: Testimony to the FMCB, Agenda Item 11: FY22 Budget Preview
Today, we are asking the MBTA to create a budgetary fund for targeted capital projects.
There is money at the MBTA to do both: return to full service immediately, and apply some of the federal aid to jumpstart unfunded capital projects.
When you combine the 3rd round of transit relief from the American Rescue Plan, with the MBTA budget projections from your recent Pro-Forma, the MBTA can carry a surplus into FY25.
Even under the MBTA’s worst case scenario in projected fare collections, you are reserving money for too long into the future. We are asking the FMCB to spend a small amount now.
Please, take advantage of this unique time when the MBTA has money available and there is a major federal infrastructure bill scheduled to pass Congress in September.
The FMCB should advance design and planning work on specific projects that have already been endorsed by the board. This is consistent with legislation filed by Sen. Boncore and his “PROJECTS Act”.
Today as part of the budget debate, you could create a new budgetary fund, similar to the old-PAYGO Capital Fund”. That would set aside money for “Federal Projects and Decarbonization Opportunities” and require the MBTA to move forward with the next set of enhancement projects like Regional Rail Phase 1 and the Red-Blue Connector.
Other projects that can be eligible for this fund should be
You should spend 5% of the federal aid now in this effort. By doing so, you can keep federal aid for the operating budget through FY24, invest in the future of the T and our economy, and provide a real a path forward for rail and transit projects already endorsed by the FMCB.
Instead of holding money federal aid to be used 39 months from now - in FY25 - let’s maximize this opportunity and spend some of the money now.