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.
Medford: Green Line Extension Public Meeting December 14 posted on Dec 5
The Green Line Extension Project Interim Program Management Team will host a public meeting as follows: Wednesday, December 14, 6:30 to 8:30 PM, Medford City Hall, Council Chambers, 85 George P. Hassett Drive The purpose of the meeting will be to present a general update …Continue Reading Medford: Green Line Extension Public Meeting December 14
MBTA Future: Focus40 Seeks Your Ideas posted on Dec 2
The Focus40 Street Team has been out at stops and stations around the system, collecting your ideas for the MBTA’s future. The Street Team is made up of MassDOT staff, community members, and partner organizations. We have already engaged with over 1,000 MBTA customers and …Continue Reading MBTA Future: Focus40 Seeks Your Ideas
MassDOT, MAPFRE Insurance Encourage Motorists to Prepare for Winter Driving posted on Dec 1
MassDOT and MAPFRE Insurance offer helpful tips to ensure that your vehicle is geared up for wintry road conditions: Bring your vehicle in for an inspection. Winter can involve some of the harshest conditions for your vehicle to endure, so have your vehicle checked by …Continue Reading MassDOT, MAPFRE Insurance Encourage Motorists to Prepare for Winter Driving