DOT IN CRISIS: Mass. transportation secretary offers grim forecast

MBTA needs exceed state’s ability to keep up

September 14, 2015

Massachusetts Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack told a Chamber breakfast crowd late last week that the theoretical cost of replacing the entire MBTA system would add up to about $25 billion. The need for such system replacement seemed self-evident.

At present, the backlog of necessary repairs for the MBTA system stands at $7.3 billion.

While Massachusetts taxpayers provide about $1 billion annually for the “T,” this figure does not meet the rate at which equipment “ages out” on a yearly basis, according to Pollack, who estimated such costs come to $600 million per year.

Massachusetts has one of the most endangered transportation infrastructure situations in the U.S. A recent report issued by TRIP, estimated that more than half the state’s rural roads were in a poor condition, and data posted by the Federal Highway Administration estimates that 52% of the state’s bridges are either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.

Adding in the revelation that mass transit is likewise in danger of falling into obsolescence, an overall grim forecast will follow the state into 2016, during which time, at present, federal-level funding remains at the “band-aid” stage.

More on the state of Massachusetts’ roads and bridges situation will be forthcoming in our final of a three-part series, DOT IN CRISIS, which will appear in print and on this website in December.