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mbta-bus-2The MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board (FMCB) today approved an MBTA Strategic Plan, a document that fulfills the FMCB requirement in its enabling legislation that required development of such a plan.

This plan serves as a blueprint for institutionalizing the objectives and strategies needed to ensure continuous improvement for the MBTA.

The Strategic Plan sets forth the MBTA’s vision, mission, and values statement and creates specific objectives for the MBTA that fall under the following headings: safety, customers, infrastructure, fiscal sustainability, accessibility, workforce, management, environment, governance, and capacity.

“This Plan reflects a year’s worth of effort by the FMCB and managers across the MBTA to build consensus and make progress on the actions that must be taken by the MBTA and its stakeholders to ensure the MBTA becomes a best-in-class transit system that exceeds the expectations of its customers,” said FMCB Chairman Joseph Aiello.

A key priority within the Strategic Plan is to bring all MBTA assets into a State of Good Repair (SGR) in fifteen years rather than twenty-five as previously projected. In 2015, nearly one-third of the MBTA’s physical assets were not in a state of good repair, with an SGR backlog estimated at $7.3 billion (this amount did not include some components of the Commuter Rail system and other key assets). The Strategic Plan aims to expand capital delivery capacity to achieve a minimum of $1 billion in annual SGR spending within four years and eliminate the backlog in fifteen years, create and effectively manage capital delivery capacity, implement asset management and lifecycle maintenance for all current and future MBTA assets, and address the SGR needs of business processes and information management.

The Strategic Plan includes several other overarching priorities. The bus system is to be reinvented for better reliability, improved amenities, and a comprehensive redesign of the entire network. Reliable service and affordable fares will be delivered as part of a new Automated Fare Collection system by FY21.

“For too long we’ve underinvested in our bus system and its nearly half a million weekday riders. Serving these—often our most transit-dependent and loyal customers—is a top priority of this Board and this Strategic Plan,” said Director Monica Tibbits–Nutt.

Operating costs will continue to be driven down and a goal for annual non-fare, own-source revenue has been set to $100 million by FY21. Planning will be completed for fleet, facilities, and service to achieve specific capacity targets, which will be established by the end of 2017.

Also included within the Strategic Plan are a number of objectives that address safety, MBTA customers, infrastructure, fiscal sustainability, accessibility, the MBTA workforce, MBTA management, the environment, governance, and capacity.

Next steps called for in the Strategic Plan include hiring a new MBTA General Manager/Chief Executive Officer who can ensure the Strategic Plan’s initiatives are the foundation of future operating and capital improvement budget requests. To this end, the new GM/CEO should have adequate and fully dedicated resource availability, the Plan says. Further next steps include establishing annual State of Good Repair targets with progress monitored through an asset management system, completion of the Focus40 capital investment planning process, comprehensive redesign of the bus network, refinement of the post-FMCB future governance structure for the MBTA, a five- and ten-year operating expense pro forma and the development of a five- and twenty-year capital plan, addressing riding pension costs, annual progress reports, and regular updates to the Strategic Plan.

With the implementation of the Strategic Plan, the region will benefit from expanded capacity on rapid transit lines through shortened headways, innovations along the Commuter Rail system with a next contract structure that better serves the region and taxpayers, and an improved bus system that serves areas where demand is growing. The Strategic Plan aims to accomplish these initiatives through internal improvements and collaborations with cities and towns with a focus on fast, reliable, accessible, and consistent service for the MBTA ridership.

More information on the FMCB Strategic Plan can be found at mbta.com.

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