MassDOT’s draft FY14-FY18 Transportation Capital Investment Plan (CIP) proposes advancing an important set of investments to improve mobility and support economic growth. The CIP spends 80% of funds on maintenance projects that will bring our transportation system up to a state of good repair, ensuring that we are preserving the system we have so it operates safely and in good condition. This allocation of resources is sensible and necessary because we need safe and reliable transportation; failing to adequately maintain our transportation system will escalate costs in the near future as repairs become more expensive over time.
The remaining funds will allow our transportation network to accommodate new drivers, transit riders, cyclists and walkers as communities grow across the state. These investments will help unlock economic opportunities around the commonwealth, grow jobs and build for the future.
However, there are several important priorities omitted from the CIP. We are deeply disappointed by the omission of funds for MBTA bus replacement. If the MBTA waits five years to invest in these buses, approximately 85% of the buses will be beyond their useful life, or, too old to be safely operational. Investments are needed now to avoid increased delays and safety concerns. Buses are a critical component of the MBTA’s system, and serve people in many communities including some of our lowest-income and most transit-dependent residents.
We are also concerned about the level of funding included for Chapter 90. Massachusetts needs robust investments to maintain local roads as well as improve sidewalks and bikelanes. The projects also create local jobs and help boost regional economies.
As leadership in both the House and Senate have said, transportation is an important priority that warrants constant attention. As we continue to address this issue in years to come, we anticipate that additional revenues will be required to meet all of the state’s transportation needs.