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Rail News: Passenger Rail

MBTA releases long-term investment plan


The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) Fiscal and Management Board earlier this week released a report that establishes a process for advancing future capital investments and meeting the region’s needs by 2040. 

A Focus40 plan was produced following a process that factored in scenarios accounting for changes in climate, demographics and the economy, according to a MBTA press release. In addition, the process entailed an extensive data collection and analysis effort, as well as a mechanism for incorporating public feedback.

“Focus40 establishes important capital investment priorities, underscoring that investments are going to be made to move people and support regional needs,” said Massachusetts Department of Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack. “Focus40 will guide decision making on infrastructure upgrades and modernization, and serve as a valuable roadmap to rebuilding the MBTA so the system is reliable, robust and resilient.”

Priority investment programs in Focus40 include:

  • capacity improvements for each rapid transit line;
  • investing in vehicles running on different and cleaner fuels;
  • making station improvements; and
  • expanding bus service and improving the condition of bus shelters.

“Recent MBTA investments have focused on state-of-good repair projects, immediate maintenance needs and replacing deteriorated vehicles and obsolete signals and track,” said MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak. “These are critical investments, but the MBTA must also look ahead at the needs of the public 20 years out, and Focus40 will help us do just that.”

While some near-term improvements for commuter rail are identified in Focus40, an MBTA Rail Vision study is currently underway to evaluate in more detail the capital investment needs for alternative rail service models and system electrification, as well as other possibilities, authority officials said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 3/22/2019