Banker & Tradesman | By State House News Service
September 13, 2016
The MBTA is preparing to more than double its spending on capital projects over the next five years, aiming to spend $6.5 billion to chip away at its state of good repair backlog and expand the transit system over the next five years.
Forecasting that the agency will spend between $850 and $950 million this fiscal year, T officials said Monday they hope to ramp up capital spending to an annual average of $1.3 billion, an amount they said would allow them to finally get ahead of system’s upkeep.
Faced with a $7.3 billion backlog in maintenance of the system and its vehicles, the MBTA is planning to more than double how much it spends on capital improvement projects over the next five years.
“Long-term, the key to improving the rider experience for our 600,000 commuters every day that ride the system is rebuilding the system, and that means really significant capital improvement,” Acting MBTA General Manager Brian Shortsleeve said. He added, “This capital plan for fiscal 17 to 21, forecasts a doubling in spending. So the total program of $6.5 billion over the next five fiscal years is more than twice what the T has historically invested.”
Faced with a $7.3 billion backlog in maintenance of the T system and its vehicles, transit officials said Monday the agency estimates it would have to spend at least $765 million per year to bring the entire system to a state of good repair by 2040.
“The backlog of state of good repair is certainly a challenge we need to deal with every day,” MBTA COO Jeff Gonneville told reporters. “It’s probably one of our highest priorities and something that we’re really going to be focusing on both within operations and overall … at the MBTA. That will not only have an impact on immediate customers, but certainly a much greater impact as it relates to the future MBTA as you look down the road.”