Posted by Jeff Mullan, MassDOT Secretary & Chief Executive Officer
This is my fourth and last message on the central points I have made regarding this moment in transportation reform. I previously wrote that reform was permanent, that we need to prepare for less Federal investment, and that, as we consider our future system, we need to account for and accommodate all transportation modes. The final point is as elementary as the first three: reform alone is not enough to fix today’s system and build tomorrow’s.
I write and speak often that I am pleased with the progress we have made since MassDOT was created. You should be too. We have made good progress in finding the savings and efficiencies we need to make our dollars go further. The savings come from many sources, but include significant concessions many of you have made in health care and other benefits, savings from now being able to refinance our debt, and dramatic reductions in payroll expenses due to consolidations. That helps.
So does the $260 million in additional annual revenue the legislature first authorized in 2009, which was targeted as follows: $100 million to service debt on the Metropolitan Highway System; $160 million for the MBTA; and the remaining $15 million for our regional transit authorities. That money has made a difference.
To no one’s surprise, the Transportation Finance Commission told us in 2007 that we had underinvested in our system for many years. They estimated that the difference between what we were spending and what we needed to spend to maintain a state of good repair over the next twenty years was nearly $20 billion. They also said that reform alone would not be enough to close the gap.
We are making steady progress toward bringing our system into a state of good repair as we have more than doubled highway investment in the last few years and are increasing our investment at the T and on city and town infrastructure as well. We are also reducing expenses, which leaves more funds available for construction and maintenance. Nevertheless, we see signs of disinvestment everywhere – signs that confirm that, despite the progress, we will not be able to save enough money to completely eliminate the gap.
In recent weeks, we have begun to discuss these issues with civic leaders. This summer, we will have more discussions about the kind of system we need and the kind of system we can afford. Right now, we cannot afford the system that we need. That’s why we must keep all the options on the table as we begin the discussion.
RMV Launches Campaign: Skip the Line, Go Online! posted on Oct 1
The MassDOT Registry of Motor Vehicles today launched a campaign to promote its MassRMV.com online registration and license renewal services as the agency prepares to process more than 1.32 million renewals before December 31, 2015. “Performing a registration or license renewal on MassRMV.com takes minutes,” …Continue Reading RMV Launches Campaign: Skip the Line, Go Online!
Lexington Route 2 Bridges: As Construction Advances, So Does Environmental Protection posted on Sep 30
MassDOT is not only replacing bridges for the Route 2/I-95 Bridge Replacement Project in Lexington, it’s also taking steps to ensure the surrounding environment is protected and improved (see the project map on our website). “Greening” measures will safeguard a key neighbor of the construction …Continue Reading Lexington Route 2 Bridges: As Construction Advances, So Does Environmental Protection
Brockton: West Elm Street Project Groundbreaking Celebrated posted on Sep 29
MassDOT Highway Administrator Thomas J. Tinlin today joined Brockton Mayor Bill Carpenter along with state and local elected officials to celebrate the groundbreaking for the West Elm Street Roadway Reconstruction Project. The $3.7 million project will improve traffic control and enhance safety along a nearly …Continue Reading Brockton: West Elm Street Project Groundbreaking Celebrated