Boston to Extend Silver Line to Mattapan and South Station

BRT — currently operating in two sections — will be united

Boston’s MBTA opened the Silver Line bus rapid transit project in 2002 and 2004 to little acclaim. The state had paid for the corridor as an environmental remediation effort for the Big Dig highway tunneling project being built simultaneously and had promised excellent rapid transit service, but what the city’s citizens actually got was a two-part, slow bus line that didn’t attract much more ridership than the routes it replaced. Now Governor of Massachusetts Deval Patrick has announced that he will spend $114 million in federal stimulus money to connect the two independently operating parts of the line and extend it to Mattapan, through areas currently underserved by rapid transit.

Part of the problem with the Silver Line is that it’s not so much a “line” as a collection of corridors with the same name. The MBTA operates Continue reading Boston to Extend Silver Line to Mattapan and South Station »

Massachusetts Looking to New York for Clues on Funding Transport

New Massachusetts Transportation Authority would combine MBTA and the Turnpike Authority

As a result of today’s difficult economic circumstances, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) is facing a $160 million budget deficit and the state government is pushing for major reforms to prevent the agency from again falling into the fiscal hole. After being prodded on by Governor Deval Patrick (D), the state House and Senate are currently considering legislation that would radically alter the face of Massachusetts transportation by combining the MBTA and the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority into a new Massachusetts Transportation Authority. The formulation – transit services plus toll-raising bridges, tunnels, and roadways – closely follows the form of New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

The new authority would be under the direct supervision of the governor, who would sit as the head of the board, and who would also appoint all four other members. The lack of

Continue reading Massachusetts Looking to New York for Clues on Funding Transport »

The Misuse of Stimulus Funds

Boston’s proposed South Coast rail exemplifies what isn’t high-speed rail

Senator John Kerry (D-MA) told reporters yesterday that he envisioned using some of the high-speed rail funds from the stimulus legislation currently under discussion to “accelerate the process” of implementing the South Coast rail corridor, a proposed commuter rail system to run between Boston and the cities of Fall River and New Bedford. The problem is that he seems to think that the Senate’s proposed $2 billion for high-speed rail will provide the dollars to get this commuter rail project moving.

Mr. Kerry has been one of the nation’s top rail advocates in recent years, so to see him pushing forward with the idea of using high-speed funds for what will be a relatively typical commuter rail system – running with big diesel locomotives at speeds of less than 100 mph – is myopic. What is the point

Continue reading The Misuse of Stimulus Funds »

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by Yonah Freemark

yfreemark (at) thetransportpolitic (dot) com

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