The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) Board of Directors on June 8 voted to approve a $2.7 billion operating budget for Fiscal Year 2024 (FY24) that “will sustain levels of service while making strategic investments in safety, staffing and hiring, key capital investments, including station and accessibility needs, and design work required for a future connection of the Red and Blue lines,” according to the agency.
According to the MBTA, the budget allocates funding to increase the agency’s overall workforce to 7,643, which is 964 positions above what was budgeted for FY23. The additional positions, the agency says, will support expanded capacity in several areas with a focus on the MBTA’s Safety Department and Operations. Specifically, more than half of all new spending for FY24 is directly related to safety-related positions and represents an increase of more than four times over prior years’ average.
The MBTA’s FY24 budget also includes $68 million to support the agency’s response to the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Safety and Management Inspection report, with $44 million of that total devoted to 455 new operating budget positions, including key areas such as rail yard and maintenance facility safety (153 positions), track maintenance (97 positions), and enhanced staffing at the Operations Control Center (49 positions), among others.
The budget, MBTA says, is also aligned with goals set forth by the Healey-Driscoll Administration, including:
- The allocation of $181 million in new, one-time funding for investments in bridge rehabilitation, station and accessibility improvements, and advancing design of a the Red-Blue Connector project.
- $5 million in new, one-time funding to study the feasibility of implementing a means-tested fare program to expand affordability.
- Support for the new Chief Safety Officer for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) and the MBTA, with responsibility for overall safety across all modes of transportation.
“This budget reflects a series of investments that sharpen our focus on enhancing safety for our customers, workforce, contractors, and vendors,” said MBTA General Manager and CEO Phillip Eng. “The T plays a vital role in connecting people to work, school, family, and friends, and I thank the Board of Directors for approving the FY24 budget. The priorities outlined here provide the means to make progress toward delivering the service our customers deserve and the level of safety—across the entire system—they expect.”
“This budget strikes a balance between building critical staffing capacity around safety while maintaining our commitment to operating new and future service like the Green Line Extension and South Coast Rail,” said Chief Administrative Officer David Panagore. “I want to express my gratitude to our stakeholder groups for their insight and thank Chief Financial Officer Mary Ann O’Hara and the MBTA’s finance team for their diligence in developing a budget that truly reflects the T’s top priorities for the coming fiscal year.”