Boston Subway in Danger of Becoming a Victim of Its Own Success

A new report from the Urban Land Institute concludes that Boston's subways could become overwhelmed by widespread congestion by the end of the decade without investment in more subway cars, better power and signal systems, reports Eric Moskowitz.
June 15, 2012, 9am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Already burdened by the highest debt obligations of any transit agency in the nation, the MBTA got news this week is likely didn't want to hear. "Surging T [subway] ridership and booming construction around transit stations, the study from the Urban Land Institute found, are poised to overwhelm the MBTA, potentially limiting future development and slowing the regional economy," warns Moskowitz.

"Congestion relief has long been a priority for highway spending; it is past time to recognize that addressing congestion is equally important for the transit system,'' wrote lead author Stephanie Pollack, associate director of Northeastern University's Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy.

Accompanied by a companion report from the Metropolitan Area Planning Council that analyzed the development potential around every rapid transit and commuter rail station, "The reports are meant to reframe the debate over whether to spend scarce infrastructure dollars extending the T to new communities or repairing the aging system."

"The MBTA has a repair and replacement backlog exceeding $3 billion that grows faster than it can afford to cross old problems off the list."

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Published on Thursday, June 14, 2012 in The Boston Globe
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