The Massachusetts Department of Transportion recently released a draft capital improvement plan for 2017 to 2021. They are currently holding a series of public meetings with a view to improving the plan with the public input. The CIP shouldn’t be confused with the Focus on Forty 25 year capital plan. All the projects in the plan were already under discussion; the CIP prioritizes certain ones for funding over the next five years. Certain projects, like the Allston I-90 Interchange, South Coast Rail and South Station Expansion,.are being advanced in design and permitting, even though there’s no funding for construction yet.
The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority comes off very well in the CIP. Out of a $14.4 billion budget, $6.5 billion is being invested in the T. The highway division is getting $7 billion, while regional transportation authorities are getting $300 million.
Most signifigantly, the CIP will devote $765 million to the State of Good Repair backlog, estimated to be about $7.4 billion. A further $1 billion is being devoted to track, signal and power system upgrades for Commuter Rail and the Red, Orange and Green Lines, including $533 million for specific rapid transit signal upgrades. The commuter rail system will get about $200 million in signal and track improvements and $36 million will be used for improvements to Wellington and Cabot Yards.
However, the CIP is uncertain on how these improvements and upgrades will actually be funded. While it recommends that the signal improvements be funded pay-as-you-go, only $240 million of the $1 billion currently has funding.
While the total MassDoT and MBTA funding sources and assumptions document estimates that $15.4 billion will be available over the life of the plan, much of it relies on the federal government and new bonding.