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Rail News: Passenger Rail

MBTA adopts strategy to fast-track repairs

The plan would bring the MBTA's asset into a state of good repair in 15 years instead of 25 years.
Photo – MBTA


The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority's (MBTA) Fiscal and Management Control Board earlier this week approved a strategic plan for fast-tracking the agency's repair backlog.

Under the plan, the MBTA would bring all assets into a state of good repair in 15 years rather than 25 years as previously projected, Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) officials said in a press release.

The strategy is expected to expand capital delivery capacity and allow the MBTA to spend $1 billion annually on repair efforts within four years.

In 2015, almost one-third of the MBTA's physical assets were not in a state of good repair, with a backlog estimated at $7.3 billion. That amount didn't include some components of the commuter-rail system and other key assets, MassDOT officials said.

Additionally, the strategy includes hiring a new permanent general manager and chief executive officer to ensure the plan's initiatives are taken into account for future operating and capital improvement budget requests. Brian Shortsleeve is serving as the agency's chief administrator and acting general manager.

Another component of the plan involves improving safety of the Green Line light-rail route with "proactive interventions," such as continuing to use a preventive maintenance schedule to boost performance. By 2022's end, the MBTA also expects to complete procurement for a train protection system and collision avoidance technology on the Green Line.

The strategy reflects a year's worth of planning by the board and MBTA managers, said Joseph Aiello, the board's chairman.