The MBTA expects to cut its projected fiscal 2017 operating deficit by 43 percent, the direct result of continued reductions in overtime spending and other costs, and increases in revenue such as real estate and advertising. T officials will detail the authority’s improving fiscal status during a meeting of its Fiscal Management and Control Board.
The T previously announced it would be $75 million under budget by the close of the 2016 fiscal year. The operating budget recast for FY17 projects a deficit of $138 million, which is 43 percent lower than the $242 million originally forecast. That amounts to $104 million in savings.
The revised estimate can be attributed to approximately 75 percent in lowered expenses and 25 percent in improved revenues.
“We’re getting our cost growth under control,” said MBTA Chief Administrator Brian Shortsleeve.
Savings in operating expenses will be used to pay for much-needed infrastructure improvements:
- $26.5 million for more Winter Resiliency Work
- New third rail for the Red Line
- New heaters for the switches and third rail on the Orange Line
- $3.5 million for track upgrades along the Worcester/Framingham Commuter Rail Line
- $70 million for major signal improvements on the Green, Red and Orange Lines
Such upgrading of aging and outdated infrastructure is critical. Some switches on the Green Line, for example, date back to 1915. Up to 30 percent of subway service delays are directly related to problems with aging signal systems.
“Every dollar that we can free up in operating expense is invested back into the system, helping us improve the level of service reliability,” said MBTA General Manager Frank DePaola.
DePaola said the $26 million Winter Resiliency II project will finish work that began prior to this winter season.
Built into the FY17 budget projections are significant new expenses caused by shifting 550 employees from The T’s debt-funded capital budget to the operating budget ($52 million), and scheduled union wage increases for employees ($12.5 million), as well as higher debt service payments ($13 million), pension and other non-wage operating expenses.
MBTA: Weekend Commuter Boat Service Returns May 28 posted on May 26
MassDOT weekend commuter boat service will be provided for the third year between Hingham, Hull, Georges Island, Grape Island and Boston. The service begins Memorial Day weekend and will continue through the Labor Day weekend. “Commuter ferry service on the weekends during the two previous …Continue Reading MBTA: Weekend Commuter Boat Service Returns May 28
Boston: Commonwealth Avenue Bridge Project Community Meeting posted on May 26
MassDOT has scheduled a community meeting for the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge Reconstruction Project as follows: Thursday, June 2, 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM, Jacob Sleeper Auditorium (CGS 129), Boston University, 871 Commonwealth Avenue. The Commonwealth Avenue Bridge Reconstruction Project will replace the existing superstructure …Continue Reading Boston: Commonwealth Avenue Bridge Project Community Meeting
Plan Ahead for Memorial Day Weekend Travel posted on May 24
MassDOT encourages travelers to plan ahead and travel safely during the Memorial Day holiday weekend. The heaviest traffic is observed during Thursday, Friday, and Monday afternoons and early evenings. Drivers are encouraged to make travel plans accordingly and if possible avoid peak traffic volumes between …Continue Reading Plan Ahead for Memorial Day Weekend Travel