BOSTON (CBS/AP) – Gov. Charlie Baker is unveiling a five-year, $83 million plan he says will improve the MBTA’s reliability during harsh weather.
The governor, along with Secretary of Transportation Stephanie Pollack and Interim MBTA General Manager Frank DePaola, announced the MBTA Winter Resiliency Plan during a press conference Thursday afternoon.
Baker said some money will go to snow removal equipment and infrastructure upgrades.
Baker said Thursday that Boston’s public transit system needs to be better prepared for tough winters. The past winter dumped more than nine feet of snow, forcing closures and delays to the subway, bus and commuter rail systems.
“The people of Massachusetts…deserve a well-managed, well-run, cost-effective (Massachusetts) transit system,” Baker said. “And certainly this past winter’s unprecedented storms exposed some serious shortcomings in our system’s reliability.”
Baker also urged lawmakers to pass legislation he said will aid long-term improvements for the T. He submitted an act last month that proposes “comprehensive reforms” to the transit system.
The plan calls for several infrastructure upgrades including:
Third rail replacements and heater upgrades on vulnerable outdoor sections of the Red and Orange Lines
Snow fence installation along the Red and Orange Lines
Repairs to vehicle maintenance facilities and structures
Emergency power generators to supplement existing subway and facility power as needed
Track access improvements for larger snow removal and track work equipment on the Red Line
Equipment improvements outlined in the plan include:
New and improved specialized snow removal equipment
For passenger vehicles, vehicle-borne anti-icing equipment, modifications to air and propulsion system resiliency and an increased stock of traction motors to improve availability
The plan’s operational changes include:
Additional snow removal contract services, as needed, to remove snow and ice at stations, facilities and other critical operations areas
Training and staffing of a field inspection team to monitor staff and contractor field activities clearing snow and returning tracks to an operational status
Adoption of incident management software in coordination with the MassDOT Highway Division to track deployment of snow removal operations across the system
Establish an as-needed inmate snow removal assistance program with the Department of Corrections
Further coordination of inter-agency planning with the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, state agencies and local municipalities
Similar resiliency enhancements to the Commuter Rail network
Revisions to the MBTA’s severe winter weather operations protocols and customer notification practices to ensure more information, customer safety and the protection of equipment and facilities.
The bill would create a financial control board to oversee management of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority.
Baker’s $82.7 million plan is funded with $62 million in federal funds, $10 million in non-federal, MBTA capital funds and $11.7 million in operating funds.
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