Move the MBTA toward making money

MBTA fare revenue could double if private capital built Solar Person Rapid Transit to: 1) run along bus lines serving train and T stations and ferry terminals (buses would help people reach SolarPRT stations, which would be about a half mile apart) and 2) connect to rail and T stations along Route 128.  The SolarPRT system would encourage more people to use transit instead of driving.

Here’s a simplified look at what doubling fare revenue without major new costs could mean for MBTA finances using 2011 as an example:

Help MBTA make a profit

Allowing private capital to build Solar Personal Rapid Transit and other types of advanced transit could provide major additional savings in the 10-year plan outlined in MassDOT’s The Way Forward, including:

  1. Lowering the estimated $75 million to be used to manage the proposed $13 billion 21st-Century Transportation Plan, which uses traditional technology
  2. Cutting the projected debt service for the proposed 21st-Century Transportation Plan, estimated at $18 million for FY14 and a total of $2.9 billion over 10 years
  3. Avoiding spending $400 million for new RTA vehicles and $450 million for new MBTA buses
  4. Providing private capital for a 10-times-better transportation alternative to public spending of $674 million for a traditional Green Line Extension
  5. Using private investment in advanced transit to replace proposed public expenditure for traditional transit at a cost of $1.8 billion for the South Coast Rail, $362.4 million for the Inland Route, $113.8 million for the Berkshires to NYC route, and $20.8 million for the Rail to Cape Cod.

In total, by enlisting private capital to build truly 21st century transportation, MassDOT could cut the cost for its plan by almost 40% and fulfill the vision of a statewide transit network called for in the public hearings.  The savings would add up to 1) $3.8 billion, a 30% decrease in the $12.5 billion (rounded to $13 billion) capital cost part of the 10-year plan, and 2) $5.4 billion, a 46%, decrease in the $11.6 billion operating costs portion of the 10-year plan:

arrow 1Legislative Action:  The state legislature can unleash private investment in advance transportation by adopting a Senate Bill 1837, the Move to Zero Personal Rapid Transit law with Rights-of-Way Performance Standards to allow privately-financed transit to use public rights-of-way.   Senate Bill 1837 would boost Massachusetts’ jobs and economy and lead the way to stabilize Earth’s climate.

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