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The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) expects to cut its projected fiscal-year 2017 operating deficit by 43 percent.The decrease primarily results from the agency's continued reduction in overtime spending and other costs, as well as increases in revenue from advertising and real estate, Massachusetts Department of Transportation officials said in a blog post.The MBTA previously announced it would be $75 million under budget by the close of FY2016. The operating budget recast for FY2017 projects a deficit of $138 million, which is 43 percent lower than the $242 million originally forecast. The $104 million in savings will be used to pay for needed infrastructure improvements, including:• $26.5 million for more winter resiliency work;• $3.5 million for track upgrades along the Worcester/Framingham commuter-rail line;• $70 million for major signal improvements on the Green, Red, and Orange lines;• new third rail for the Red Line; and• new heaters for switches and third rail on the Orange LineThe infrastructure upgrades are critical, MBTA officials said, noting that up to 30 percent of subway service delays are directly related to problems with aging signal systems."Every dollar that we can free up in operating expense is invested back into the system, helping us improve the level of service reliability," said MBTA General Manager Frank DePaola.
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