T makes quick fix on Red-Blue connector
Spending plan upped from $3m to $25m, with $15m for subway link
THE MBTA, under fire from the chairman of its oversight board, quickly amended its draft, five-year capital spending plan this week to funnel $22 million more to expansion projects, including $15 million for preliminary work on a subway connector between the Red and Blue lines.
The $8 billion capital spending plan attempts to lay out the T’s investment priorities over the next five years, and the proposal for fiscal 2020 through 2024 prioritizes investments across the entire transit authority.
On Monday, the next-to-the-last page of the capital spending presentation called for a $3 million investment in expansion projects, including the Red-Blue connector, the extension of the Green Line to Route 16, the extension of the Silver Line to Everett, and various unspecified rail vision projects. A separate box on the same page called for a $15 million expansion project budget with no specifics.
Joseph Aiello, the chairman of the Fiscal and Management Control Board and a proponent of the Red-Blue connector, made clear at Monday’s meeting that the numbers were totally inadequate and needed to be redone. Typically, such revisions would be considered by staff and reflected in the next capital spending presentation, which is scheduled for May.
But on Tuesday the T posted on its website a revised capital spending plan presentation (“per 4/8 FMCB feedback”) that provided a total of $25 million for early-stage development of the expansion projects, with $15 million for the Red-Blue connector, $9 million for the Green Line extension, and $1 million for the Silver Line to Everett.Officials at the T could not be reached Wednesday night on why the quick change was made and where the new funding was going to come from.
The change was noted on Twitter on Tuesday, where Jim Aloisi of TransitMatters, a big fan of the Red-Blue connector, was railing against the low amount of money budgeted for the initiative when he learned from another user who had discovered the figures had been updated. Ari Ofsevit, another member of TransitMatters, chimed in, calling the switch the “whoops we forgot excuse.”