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MBTA Board Expected To Endorse A ‘Rail Vision’ Plan Today – StreetsblogMASS


Today’s meeting of the MBTA Fiscal and Control Management Board is expected to endorse one of the six alternatives from the MBTA’s year-long “Rail Vision” planning process.

As SteetsblogMASS reported previously, those six alternatives range widely in cost and ambition, from a $1.7 billion option that would add new some trains to the existing system, to a $29 billion “full transformation” option that would run new electric trains every 15 minutes all day and build a new regional rail tunnel to connect North and South Stations.

In its last meeting on Oct. 28, the 25-member advisory committee that has been meeting to guide the planning process broadly agreed that the “full transformation” option should be the preferred alternative.

But Senator William Brownsberger, a committee member who is also involved in transportation funding discussions at the State House, has suggested that even if the “full transformation” of the system is adopted as a long-term goal, it could be necessary to manage the cost and scale of the project by prioritizing improvements on certain higher-ridership lines before others.

Jarred Johnson, the Chief Operating Officer for TransitMatters, has been advocating for frequent, all-day electrified rail service since early 2018, when TransitMatters released its “Regional Rail for Metropolitan Boston” report.

Should the MBTA board endorse the “full transformation” alternative, Johnson said that the next step for TransitMatters is to “hold them accountable to the vision” that the board endorses today.

“Barring their latest procurement (for new diesel trains), they should not be making any more investments that go against the regional rail vision – they should be taking those early steps to the transformation. We’re also going to help them think about what those early-action steps should be, and make sure they’re always choosing the highest and best options for things.”

This story will be updated this afternoon with live coverage from the control board’s meeting.

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