The MBTA Allocates a Portion of New Federal Dollars
Written by Rick Dimino, President & CEO
This past Monday, the MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board (FMCB) approved a plan that incrementally walks back select service cuts they approved in December as part of the Forging Ahead process. General Manager Steve Poftak announced that these changes are possible because of the most recent round of federal COVID-19 transit relief that will provide the T with an additional $250-$300 million in funding.
- What does this mean for MBTA service planning? Up to $17 million to bring back some bus routes that have seen durable ridership, and limited late night (after 9 PM) service on the Commuter Rail.
This is welcome news that we hope will improve service today for the essential workers who rely on public transit to get to and from work and prevent delays to service restoration when the transition back to the workplace begins. Transit is essential to the region’s economic recovery and A Better City has and will continue to testify and advocate for the MBTA to lead demand to ensure this important public good is safe, affordable, reliable, and available for all.
In addition to the changes to service planning, the General Manager stated that the Authority will reallocate capital dollars reassigned last December in order to backfill some capital maintenance plans and advance projects this fiscal year.
- How does this affect capital projects? Up to $178 million will be returned to the FY 21 capital budget to undertake critical maintenance work on the Winchester Center Station and advance other projects to be determined during the Capital Investment Plan process.
Funding of the region’s transportation infrastructure must remain a priority for the Commonwealth, and A Better City will continue call on the MBTA to advance design work for unfunded, transformational capital projects that could be eligible for funding from the Biden-Harris Administration.
The T’s decision to invest in today’s service and critical capital improvement projects is the right one. While A Better City recognizes the MBTA for its action, it urges the Governor and Secretary of Transportation to empower the Authority to go further by allocating more federal funding now to prevent service cuts that cannot immediately be reinstated and to lay a foundation to realize a 21st Century system. Additionally, we encourage the FMCB to move to eliminate all cuts and to restore full service in the coming months.