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Massachusetts Gov. Charles Baker yesterday debuted an $82.7 million Winter Resiliency Plan for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA).The plan calls for making investments throughout the summer, and over the next five years, in snow removal equipment, infrastructure upgrades and operations to improve service reliability in harsh weather."In the event of another harsh winter, it is critical we are prepared," Baker said in a statement. "As we continue to work with the Legislature to achieve the flexibility that is necessary, this dedicated resiliency plan is a first step towards short-term upgrades to improve response and recovery efforts."In February, severe winter weather forced the MBTA to temporarily shut down some lines and alter service along commuter-rail routes for several weeks.Specific infrastructure improvements in Baker's plan include replacing the third rail along outdoor sections of the Red and Orange lines, installing snow fences along the Red and Orange lines to mitigate snow drift accumulation and repairing vehicle maintenance facilities and structures. Additional efforts entail installing emergency power generators to supplement existing subway and facility power, as well as track access improvements to allow for larger snow removal on the Red Line.Subsidized in part by $62 million in federal formula funds for capital investments, Baker's plan also calls for several operations-based improvements, including training and staffing of a Field Inspection Team to be deployed during weather events to monitor staff and contractor field activities.Remaining funding for the winter resiliency plan will come from $10 million in non-federal, MBTA capital funds and $11.7 million in the agency's operating funds.
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