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.
Longfellow Bridge: Next Stage of Construction to Begin in August posted on Jul 22
MassDOT’s contractor is scheduled to begin the next stage of construction on the Longfellow Bridge in August 2016 now that the MBTA Red Line trains have been moved to their new locations. In this stage, bridge rehabilitation work will occur under the MBTA outbound track. …Continue Reading Longfellow Bridge: Next Stage of Construction to Begin in August
Maynard: Assabet River Rail Trail to Connect with MBTA Station posted on Jul 21
MassDOT Highway Administrator Tom Tinlin today joined local legislators to break ground on the Assabet River Rail Trail construction project in Maynard. The $6.7 million project links the Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge with the downtown Maynard business district as well as the MBTA South …Continue Reading Maynard: Assabet River Rail Trail to Connect with MBTA Station
Coming Soon: Electric Vehicle Fast Charging Stations posted on Jul 20
MassDOT has announced that “Fast Charging” Stations for Electric Vehicles will be available at I-90 Service Plazas beginning later this year. Depending upon the electric vehicle and the state of its current charge, the stations will charge an electric vehicle to at least 80% power …Continue Reading Coming Soon: Electric Vehicle Fast Charging Stations