T notes

Control Board takes action on contracts, real estate deals, etc.

MBTA Police Superintendent Richard Sullivan said staff overtime and crime are both down at the T, and fare evasion citations are up 51 percent so far this year. In a presentation to the Fiscal Management and Control Board, Sullivan said overtime expenses through July 11 of this year totaled $3.3 million, down from $4.4 million during the same period last year. Serious crime on the T over that period declined, falling from 540 incidents through July 11 last year to 374 incidents this year. Sullivan also said the T is stationing more officers at points of entry, monitoring for problems. As a result, he said, the number of fare evasion citations is up 51 percent to 2,503 through July 11 this year. “This year will set a record for fare evasion citations,” he said.

MBTA officials say they recently held their first competitively bid bond sale in 21 years and saved $110 million. There were two sales on the same day to refund existing bonds worth a total of $337 million. The T’s interest payments on the bonds are now about half what they were before, saving $110 million. Asked why the T had previously negotiated deals with bond underwriters rather than putting them out to bid, Chief Administrator Brian Shortsleeve said: “I don’t know the answer.”

The Fiscal Management and Control Board approved two transit-oriented development projects on Monday, one on the parking area next to Mattapan Station and the other at the Beverly Depot commuter rail station. A group calling itself POAH/Nuestra (POAH stands for Preservation of Affordable Housing and Nuestra is a community development corporation) won the Mattapan contract, agreeing to make nearly $4.9 million in payments over 20 years for a 99-year lease on the property. The group plans to build 135 residential units, 69 of them affordable, along with 12,000 square feet of retail. In Beverly, Barnat Development was chosen and plans to build 70 residential units, 14 of them workforce housing, plus 3,000 square feet of retail. Barnat is paying $32.4 million over the life of its 99-year lease. The Mattapan project is much bigger than the Beverly one, but the present value of the payout to the T is much bigger in Beverly. The net present value of the deal in Beverly is a little over $4 million versus just under $3 million in Mattapan.

Meet the Author

Bruce Mohl

Editor, CommonWealth

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

Joseph Aiello, the chairman of the Fiscal Control and Management Board, said he’s noticed that the Big Dig tunnels are often jammed with traffic less even though they have been open for about 10 years. “It seems like the tunnels are increasingly backed up,” he said during a discussion on long-range planning at the T.

Shortsleeve, the T’s chief administrator, said he doesn’t know whether two armored vehicles used to transport money came from the manufacturer with fiberglass roofs or whether the vehicles were modified after delivery. In a lengthy address last week on the state of the T, Gov. Charlie Baker said someone had cut “sunroofs” into two armored vehicles used for transporting money.  James O’Brien, the head of the Carmen’s Union, said the vehicles came that way from the manufacturer and blasted the governor for using “pure fiction” about the roofs to make the case for privatization of the T’s money room. Shortsleeve said he didn’t know whether the vehicles were delivered with fiberglass roofs or whether the roofs were subsequently installed; when the issue came to the T’s attention, he said, the vehicles were taken out of service.

The Fiscal Management and Control Board approved the second phase of a Red Line winter resiliency project that will start in September. The work will require six weekend closings of the Braintree line and three weekend closings of the Ashmont line; bus service will replace subway service on those weekends. The contract calls for replacing the electrified third rail and numerous railroad ties on the Red Line at a total cost of $30.3 million (an $18.5 million contract with Barletta Heavy Division to do the construction work and $11.55 million for materials and other work).