T notes: Agency nearing $1b capital spending target
More repair projects mean more rider inconvenience
THE MBTA IS CLOSING IN on its goal of investing $1 billion a year in the transit system.
Joanna Aalto, who oversees the T’s capital program, told the Fiscal and Management Control Board on Monday that the agency spent $811 million in fiscal 2017, including $709 million addressing so-called state-of-good repair projects. The T is planning to spend $942 million in fiscal 2018, including $795 million on state-of-good repair projects.
The fiscal 2017 spending on state-of-good repair projects fell short of the T’s $750 million target, but was still well above the $502 million spent the previous year.
To keep spending on an upward trajectory, the T has been pushing out more contracts faster than ever. Aalto said the T has hired 24 more employees to oversee capital projects and shortened construction procurements from between seven and nine months to no more than three months.
With the increased spending on capital improvement projects, members of the control board said the public will probably face more inconvenience as subways lines, T stations, parking garages, and other services are shut down temporarily while infrastructure projects are completed. Steve Poftak, a member of the control board, said bus diversions around construction projects will increasingly become a “fact of life” for riders on the T.
Jeffrey Gonneville, the T’s deputy general manager, outlined new procedures the T will follow making it easier for riders to navigate bus diversions. The new procedures, including a lot more signage, followed complaints last week about a diversion on the Red Line between Park Street Station and Kendall.
“This is part of the reality for our customers for the next many years,” said Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack .
Bus driver commendedMBTA bus driver Gary Goorahlal was commended Monday for confronting a male passenger who was harassing a female passenger on his Route 426 bus on October 27.
According to T officials, Goorahlal pulled the bus over, called the transit police, and confronted the man. Officials said the male passenger threatened Goorahlal and showed he had a gun. The officials said the passenger subsequently fled and was arrested.