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.
Students Celebrate Walk and Bike to School Day posted on May 4
Thousands of elementary and middle school students all over the Commonwealth walked and rode their bikes to school in celebration of the 7th Annual Massachusetts Walk and Bike to School Day. Nearly 300 schools participated in the event. “It’s encouraging to see so many communities …Continue Reading Students Celebrate Walk and Bike to School Day
Natick: MassDOT Breaks Ground on Marion Street Bridge posted on May 4
MassDOT today broke ground on a new bridge that will carry Marion Street over railroad tracks in Natick. The new bridge will feature a single superstructure with steel beams, concrete deck with asphalt surface on existing abutments, and a 6-foot wide sidewalk. Pedestrian access will …Continue Reading Natick: MassDOT Breaks Ground on Marion Street Bridge
MBTA Projects 12.8% Reduction in Energy Costs posted on May 4
The MBTA projects a 12.8 percent reduction in energy costs for the 2017 Fiscal Year, and expects to see additional savings during the next three years, according to a presentation made recently to the MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board. The cost savings are the …Continue Reading MBTA Projects 12.8% Reduction in Energy Costs