State: A ballooning transportation deficit may lead to more MBTA service cuts

During a visit to Marshfield on Tuesday, the Secretary of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, Rich Davey, explained that he’s been working to reform the MassDOT to become a state-wide agency rather than just ‘Boston focused’. But he said they’re having trouble funding road projects as well as general operations because they’re scraping by.

“Potholes to be clear, trains to be on-time, minimal wait at the registry [of motor vehicles]: that’s what you expect and I’m telling you folks we cannot deliver that given the current way we finance the Department of Transportation. It cannot be done,” said Davey

Davey went on to say that for the past 20 years, highway operations have been inappropriately funded which has created a deficit of $250 million.

But he also mentioned that the MBTA has the highest amount of debt out of any transit authority in the U.S at $8.6 billion.

The Greenbush and Kingston/Plymouth commuter rail lines lost weekend service and fares were raised just this past July but Davey noted that they might be in the same situation again, “Next year’s budget deficit will be over $100 million dollars. If we don’t solve the problem we’ll be back with massive fare hikes and service cuts come next year.”

However Davey said the MassDOT is looking at ways to save money and generate funding such as going from two subway operators on the Red Line to only one and incorporating advertising on their website.

State Representative Jim Cantwell (right) talks with the MassDOT Highway Division Administrator Frank DePaola (far left) and MassDOT Secretary Rich Davey (middle) at a breakfast in Marshfield that was hosted by Cantwell and the Marshfield Chamber of Commerce.

(photo provided by Arnold Briggs)

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About Trisha McNeilly

With a Bachelor’s Degree in American Studies from the University of Massachusetts-Boston under her belt, Trisha McNeilly joins us full-time as a general assignment and breaking news reporter having previously interned for WBZ-1030 AM in Boston. A South Shore resident her whole life, McNeilly grew up in Pembroke and is 22-years old.