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3/5/2015



Rail News: Passenger Rail

Massachusetts Gov. Baker proposes 53 percent hike in MBTA funding for FY2016


As part of his $38 billion state budget proposal for fiscal-year 2016, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker is calling for a 53 increase in direct aid to the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) for operational improvements.

The governor proposed increasing aid to $187 million, up from $122.5 million in FY2015, for the improvements, according to a press release.

In addition, Baker called for an MBTA Weather Resiliency Fund to support operating costs, projects and programs for weather-related situations.

The budget announcement comes as the agency continues to grapple with an avalanche of problems related in part to record snowfalls that prompted MBTA to shut down its T subway service for days. The controversy over the agency's response to the recent storms led to the resignation of MBTA General Manager Beverly Scott.

The additional funding is in response to the transit agency being hit hard by unusually severe winter weather, Massachusetts Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack said in an interview with the Boston Herald.

"We're giving them this money this year because there's a problem to be fixed, not because we believe the general fund has an obligation to fill in the operating deficit at the T," she said.

MBTA officials recently revealed the agency would need to about $6.7 billion to repair and modernize its trains and infrastructure.



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