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Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) staff earlier this week presented a preliminary $2.02 billion operating budget for fiscal year 2017.Although the agency still faces an $80 million structural deficit, its "own-source revenue" has increased $10 million, driven primarily by advertising, MBTA officials said in a press release. In addition, MBTA's fare revenue is expected to grow an additional $43 million as a result of a recently enacted fare increase of 9.3 percent.The agency also will reduce wages by $15 million and cut overtime costs.To eliminate its remaining deficit, the MBTA will pursue wage and benefit savings; flexible contracting; reducing vendor costs; reforming high-subsidy, low-ridership bus and commuter-rail lines; and increasing park revenue, agency officials said."This is not a business-as-usual budget," said MBTA Chief Administrator Brian Shortsleeve. "We are going to put the [MBTA] on a path to getting to balance."The operating budget assumes a transfer of $100 million "Pay-go" capital and maintenance initiatives. Pay-go funds can be used to address major issues, such as upgrading old technology and completing the agency's winter resiliency work on track, rail and signals, MBTA officials said.
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