MBTA analysis shows nearly $25 billion is needed to repair system


The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority says it will cost 24.5 billion to repair the system’s many problems, according to an internal analysis released Thursday.
That cost includes only repairs and not any upgrades to the system.
You can read the full report here.
“Restoring reliability and ensuring safety are priorities as we rebuild MBTA infrastructure. Understanding and acknowledging the significant resources needed to bring our system to a State of Good Repair is just one step towards fixing our infrastructure to deliver more robust and frequent service,” MBTA General Manager and CEO Phillip Eng said in a statement. “The MBTA is one of the oldest transit agencies in the country, and while there are a number of contributing factors, it’s clear that years of underinvestment have added to the cost of bringing our system back to a state of good repair.”
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Today, we released our Capital Needs Assessment and Inventory, which outlines our assets & the overall condition of our system. We conduct this analysis every 3-4 years to determine what level of investment is needed for our network.
ℹ️https://t.co/RNhUzYOC0s#BuildingABetterT pic.twitter.com/ZeWZuzbg4b — MBTA (@MBTA) November 16, 2023
The T rolled out its first new capital needs assessment since 2019, when officials under the Baker administration projected a roughly $10 billion cost to replace all outdated MBTA infrastructure with modern alternatives.
The new estimate is nearly two and a half times more expensive than the last capital needs assessment, which officials said is driven by a combination of factors including stinging construction inflation and MBTA assets aging faster than they are being replaced.
Officials also updated their methodology this time around. As a result of changes to the T’s asset management systems, the latest study counted 83,683 individual assets to produce its cost estimate, compared to 59,073 assets in 2019.
The breakdown of the repair costs is as follows:
Facilities: $6.4 billion (35% of assets)
Rolling Stock: $2.4 billion (55% of assets)
Equipment: $52 million (28% of assets)
Structures: $5.3 billion (22% of assets)
Signals – Commuter Rail: $1.3 billion (80% of assets)
Signals – Transit: $753 million (53% of assets)
Track – Commuter Rail: $1.2 billion (9% of assets)
Track – Transit: $2.0 billion (89% of assets)
Power: $5.1 billion (76% of assets)
Eng was expected to discuss the new assessment at a board meeting Thursday, one day after Transportation Secretary Monica Tibbits-Nutt described the need for a “hard, hard discussion” about financing the transit agency.
The MBTA said it is already addressing many of the needs identified in the capital needs assessment, including the work conducted on the Red Line during October’s Ashmont Branch and Mattapan line diversions. Over 80 new two level Commuter Rail coach cars are also being introduced to replace the existing fleet and increase system capacity, and improvements are being made on the Commuter Rail signal system as well.
Massachusetts Congressman Seth Moulton issued a statement Thursday calling the T’s announcement “the honest assessment we’ve been waiting for.” He added that “$24.5 billion is a big number, but it’s not shocking given the accumulation of decades of under-investment.”
“While other transit agencies are building automated rail with fast trains every minute, we’ve let ours erode to the point that it’s faster to walk in some places,” Moulton said. “How do we expect to reduce our terrible traffic if you can’t even trust your train to not derail or catch fire? Last year, I called for a fundamental change in how the T functions as an organization. This is yet another wake-up call. If major changes are not made, we’ll be dealing with the exact same, or worse, issues for years to come. Whether you use the T or not, every one of us in Massachusetts suffers from having a transit system we can’t trust.”
State House News Service contributed to this report.


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