MBTA ROC Subcommittee Submits Comments Regarding the FY 2017-21 CIP

The MBTA ROC Capital Investment & Finance Subcommittee submitted comments to the MBTA regarding the CIP for FY 2017-21. The text is available below, and a pdf of this letter is available here: MBTA ROC CIP Commentary

May 13, 2016

RE: FY2017-21 Capital Investment Plan

To Whom It May Concern,

Below are comments from the Capital Investment & Finance Subcommittee of the MBTA Rider Oversight Committee:

1. The Project Universe spreadsheet is very helpful and very informative. Perhaps another sheet could be added to provide descriptions for some of the columns and programs. Some lines seem to be duplicated, and that is confusing.

2. We would like more transparency into the scores that were given to projects by the Project Selection Advisory Committee

3. Where applicable, we would like to see not only the State of Good Repair scores for selected and unselected projects, but we would like to see the projected changes to those scores as a result of the proposed spending.

4. On page 96, there is a line for “SUB” with a FY17-21 cost of $5M, but there is no associated program

5. Of the selected MBTA projects, they all seem worthy of being chosen. In particular, we are pleased to see that the expansion of GLX from College Station to Rt. 16 remains on the table.

With respect to the projects that were not selected, here are our concerns:

1. Overall, we feel that the lack of spending on the Asset Management Plan will make it difficult, if not impossible, to create and maintain an accurate and effective State of Good Repair database.

2. Though IT has its own section that is separate from the MBTA section, there still seems to be lack of spending on IT projects that would allow the MBTA to effectively mine and analyze the large amounts of data it collects. The MBTA dashboard is a nice addition, but so much more could be done with the data that could create tools that would be helpful to MBTA staff. It would also be good if the MBTA could develop the IT resources that would allow it to more frequently and more effectively survey its riders and the non-riding public in order to assess the MBTA’s effectiveness in providing what the public wants. Related to this notion, we also support the following: (1) Expansion of CTPS Travel Demand Model Territory, (2) Financial System Integration & Upgrade, (3) Digital Scanning Project, (4) MBTA Fuel, Fluids, and Maintenance Management Systems, (5) Next Generation AFC Study, (6) Operations and Maintenance Facilities Needs Evaluation, (7) Parking enforcement payment and technology, (8) Wayfinding, (9) Service Delivery Mgt System, (10) Bus Systems Upgrades

3. Climate Change Adaptation Strategy: Given the close call posed by Superstorm Sandy and the ongoing concerns about rising temperatures and water levels, it is prudent to study how we can make the more susceptible elements of the transit system flood-proof. Those of us who remember the flooding of Kenmore Station by the Muddy River in 1996 remember how severely the Green Line was crippled at that time.

4. Emergency Repair Services, Equipment Resiliency, and Fire Prevention/Sprinkler Repairs seem to be programs that should be funded immediately.

Thanks for your attention to our concerns,
The Capital Investment & Finance Subcommittee of the MBTA Rider Oversight Committee