Governor's pitch to solve transportation funding woes

Discussion relating to commuter rail, light rail, and subway operations of the MBTA.

Moderators: CRail, sery2831

Re: Governor's pitch to solve transportation funding woes

Postby GP40MC1118 » Fri Jan 18, 2013 10:16 pm

I've commuting 70+ miles for 30+ years....

D
GP40MC1118
 
Posts: 3295
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 8:06 pm

Re: Governor's pitch to solve transportation funding woes

Postby Elcamo » Sat Jan 19, 2013 7:59 am

Unfortunately, the state can't really tell people to stop commuting from that far away, just look at all the people from NH who commute into Boston. If the demand is there and it can be done efficiently, then the MBTA and the state have an obligation to serve it. In a perfect world there would be no suburbs and we would all live 15 minutes away from where we work, but unfortuantely that's not the case. Don't get me wrong, I still feel like there are several potential problems with Southcoast Rail, but to say that the MBTA shouldn't be serving their community because they're "too far away" is absurd. If we don't establish rail out there, then the roads will continue to become more and more congested and we will eventually have to do yet another "big dig" and rebuild Boston's highways and roads.

Also, who controls the MBTA directly? Obviously they're affected by the federal government to some extent, but what state/political group has direct control over them? The reason I ask this is because the existing RI service would qualify as being commerce between states, and the MBTA should be monitored by the federal government, not the state. I don't really think this is all that important, but we've been going over state's rights and the federal government's control over interstate commerce in my history class, and it has got me thinking about the MBTA and it's expansions into RI (and eventually NH?) more.
Elcamo
 
Posts: 65
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2012 2:03 am

Re: Governor's pitch to solve transportation funding woes

Postby Teamdriver » Sat Jan 19, 2013 10:37 am

If the SC rail was so essential, why dont the destination cities yield to standard slab train stops, instead of the palatial designs that they are drooling over, like that they want every single drip of money that can be squeezed out of this clearly political expenditure? Pitch in and try to make it happen reasonably, at least offer anyway. It seems that this is an entitlement, costs be dammed. Boston has a system , we want one too! The raceways that are rte 140 and rte 24 carry alot of tradesmen, and they are not going to drag tools on the train , so the thinking is skewed on utility. Maybe if there were slots at Carney's Raynham track, you would have a destination, otherwise , once built, an expensive way to keep rust off the rails. Restore Plymouth weekend service , that at least is a tourist attraction, that could be more. But to run past Raynham ( if there were slots there ), in light of the financial doom and gloom reality, who's doing the thinking? , this aint a train set in the cellar fantasy land.
User avatar
Teamdriver
 
Posts: 954
Joined: Sat Jul 19, 2008 3:18 pm

Re: Governor's pitch to solve transportation funding woes

Postby BostonUrbEx » Sat Jan 19, 2013 10:39 am

Elcamo wrote:Unfortunately, the state can't really tell people to stop commuting from that far away


I must have missed the post where someone suggested this.

Elcamo wrote:to say that the MBTA shouldn't be serving their community because they're "too far away" is absurd.


I must have missed the post that said this as the sole reasoning as well.


Of all the potential rail projects, SCRP is an absurd waste of time, energy, and resources. And not simply because it is 'too far away'. Back when the estimate to build this collosal waste was a mere $670 million, the estimate capital cost per new passenger was $94,000! And as I understand it based on what others have said, that was based on inflated ridership statistics. So even if we triple it to it's current price tag, we're looking at $282,000 per new passenger according to optimistically inflated ridership statistics.
User avatar
BostonUrbEx
 
Posts: 3587
Joined: Thu Dec 03, 2009 9:55 pm
Location: Winn to MPT 8, Boston to MPN 38, and Hat to Bank

Re: Governor's pitch to solve transportation funding woes

Postby newpylong » Sat Jan 19, 2013 11:28 am

Well that isn't what I am saying, but I guess it did come off like that. I meant, right now, as a state we should not be undertaking transportation projects like this. The return vs expenditure is not there. If you choose to live 70 miles from Boston, what is wrong with driving in 40 miles to one of the large outlying stations with tons of parking. People on the northside from NH do it all the time- I bet if you did the math you would find the amount that it is going to cost to get an individual passenger in to Boston from that far away is astronomical.


Elcamo wrote:Unfortunately, the state can't really tell people to stop commuting from that far away, just look at all the people from NH who commute into Boston. If the demand is there and it can be done efficiently, then the MBTA and the state have an obligation to serve it. In a perfect world there would be no suburbs and we would all live 15 minutes away from where we work, but unfortuantely that's not the case. Don't get me wrong, I still feel like there are several potential problems with Southcoast Rail, but to say that the MBTA shouldn't be serving their community because they're "too far away" is absurd. If we don't establish rail out there, then the roads will continue to become more and more congested and we will eventually have to do yet another "big dig" and rebuild Boston's highways and roads.

Also, who controls the MBTA directly? Obviously they're affected by the federal government to some extent, but what state/political group has direct control over them? The reason I ask this is because the existing RI service would qualify as being commerce between states, and the MBTA should be monitored by the federal government, not the state. I don't really think this is all that important, but we've been going over state's rights and the federal government's control over interstate commerce in my history class, and it has got me thinking about the MBTA and it's expansions into RI (and eventually NH?) more.
newpylong
 
Posts: 3923
Joined: Thu Jun 28, 2007 12:32 pm
Location: NH

Re: Governor's pitch to solve transportation funding woes

Postby TomNelligan » Sat Jan 19, 2013 2:07 pm

Also, who controls the MBTA directly? Obviously they're affected by the federal government to some extent, but what state/political group has direct control over them? The reason I ask this is because the existing RI service would qualify as being commerce between states, and the MBTA should be monitored by the federal government, not the state.


The MBTA is an agency of the Commonweath of Massachusetts, funded by the legislature and under the auspices of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. Like any transit authority it is also governed by applicable Federal DOT and FRA regulations.

I'm not a constitutional lawyer, but in Rhode Island the MBTA operates solely as a contractor to Rhode Island DOT, which pays the MBTA to operate the service. The MBTA cut off service south of the state line on two occasions in the past when the RIDOT contract lapsed. I suspect that arrangement falls under the "compacts between states" portion of the Constitution rather that Congress's power to regulate interstate commerce.

Incidentally, Metro North, New Jersey Transit, SEPTA, and METRA also have interstate suburban rail operations. DC Metro operates in two states plus the D of C, and PATH, PATCO, and the St. Louis light rail operation are also interstate transit systems. It's not that ususual when a big metropolitan area crosses state lines.
TomNelligan
 
Posts: 3180
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 5:43 pm
Location: Massachusetts

Re: Governor's pitch to solve transportation funding woes

Postby FatNoah » Sat Jan 19, 2013 2:31 pm

The Globe has a "well educated" summary of the plan: http://www.boston.com/community/blogs/r ... n_128.html

Among the gems are the statement that South Coast Rail will "significantly ease" congestion on Route 24 and that the South Station expansion will help create more room for possible high speed rail to Montreal.
FatNoah
 
Posts: 1010
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 8:10 am

Re: Governor's pitch to solve transportation funding woes

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Sat Jan 19, 2013 2:59 pm

TomNelligan wrote:
Also, who controls the MBTA directly? Obviously they're affected by the federal government to some extent, but what state/political group has direct control over them? The reason I ask this is because the existing RI service would qualify as being commerce between states, and the MBTA should be monitored by the federal government, not the state.


The MBTA is an agency of the Commonweath of Massachusetts, funded by the legislature and under the auspices of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. Like any transit authority it is also governed by applicable Federal DOT and FRA regulations.

I'm not a constitutional lawyer, but in Rhode Island the MBTA operates solely as a contractor to Rhode Island DOT, which pays the MBTA to operate the service. The MBTA cut off service south of the state line on two occasions in the past when the RIDOT contract lapsed. I suspect that arrangement falls under the "compacts between states" portion of the Constitution rather that Congress's power to regulate interstate commerce.

Incidentally, Metro North, New Jersey Transit, SEPTA, and METRA also have interstate suburban rail operations. DC Metro operates in two states plus the D of C, and PATH, PATCO, and the St. Louis light rail operation are also interstate transit systems. It's not that ususual when a big metropolitan area crosses state lines.


Yes...RI service is a pure mercenary operation where every operating dollar, crew wage, and required piece of equipment for every running mile over the state line is 100% subsidized by RIDOT. Right down to them having a partial ownership stake in the equipment pool. It's a fully legal way of circumventing the district boundaries in the agency charter, in much the same way that the state borrowing the T for engineering on out-of-district projects like the Vermonter is 100% reimbursed or collaborating with CCRTA for the Hyannis service (Wareham is the last in-district town on that route). This of course bit them in the butt in 1981 when all the RI subsidies got killed, but their agreements with RIDOT are much more robust and flexible nowadays.

This is part of the reason why South Coast Rail is such an out-of-control monster. Fall River and New Bedford are out-of-district towns that can't join and ratify the charter until the SCR build is locked-and-loaded. Therefore the South Coast Task Force via the Gov.'s office has to act as the official intermediary for all business with the two cities in lieu of any T jurisdiction. So they promise the moon and it incites all the in-district towns to the north. Freetown, Taunton, Raynham, and Easton are under the T's control, but they can't rein in the source of the mission creep down south so it just pumps everyone upstream full of hot air with their own demands for ponies. This would probably be a somewhat different project if both cities were forced to join before the project even went on the table. Phasing it Taunton first + express bus coordination to FR/NB would also be a real help at cooling down all this hot air, reining in the unaccountable Task Force, and letting them tell Raynham to STFU on its more ridiculous demands.
F-line to Dudley via Park
 
Posts: 7108
Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2005 7:26 pm
Location: North Cambridge

Re: Governor's pitch to solve transportation funding woes

Postby The EGE » Sat Jan 19, 2013 3:08 pm

Some history to explain the Rhode Island situation: commuter service in the segment between Providence and New Haven was basically gone by the end of the 1950s. Local operations between New London and New Haven lasted in some form until the Penn Central merger in 1969, and the NLC-NHV Clamdigger until early 1972. By the time the MBTA started funding Shore Line service in mid 1965, the only local service past Providence was a daily New London-Boston trip for the Westerly-Providence market. That trip lasted with Penn Central past the formation of Amtrak until 1972, at which point it was replaced with a Rhode Island-funded Westerly-Providence trip that remained through-routed to Boston. The Boston leg of that trip was dropped in 1977 as Rhode Island continued to pay Conrail for the service even when B&M took over the MBTA southside; the Westerly-Providence run lasted until December 1979. Meanwhile, the Clamdigger was revived as a Providence-to-New Haven run in 1976, then replaced with the New Haven-Boston Beacon Hill from 1978 to 1981.

The MBTA took over full subsidy for the Providence Line in 1976; Rhode Island began to provide funding for service to Providence and Pawtucket-Central Falls in 1977. In April 1979 Rhode Island dropped some subsidy and the two Rhode Island stops became rush hour-only. In early 1981, Rhode Island stopped funding rail service. MBTA service ended in February; the Beacon Hill lasted until October.

Rhode Island turned around on commuter rail relatively quickly, particularly after the completion of the new Providence station in 1986. Rush-hour service to Providence resumed on February 1, 1988 under the Pilgrim Partnership. Under that agreement, Rhode Island pays Amtrak for use of the tracks and provides all funds for capital projects (like the T.F. Green Airport and Wickford Junction stations); the MBTA funds operations. Pawtucket/Central Falls was not opened as it would have required costly renovations; however, South Attleboro opened in 1990 as a park-and-ride for the same general area (the station is just 250 feet from the state line).

The partnership has been used or modified several times since. Providence ridership exploded after a few years; off-peak service was added in 2000 and weekend service in 2006. T.F. Green Airport opened in 2010, and with it came several Rhode Island intrastate trips. Those may be funded by Rhode Island; I'm not sure. Wickford opened in 2012 and more service was added. With the exception of one Mansfield and one Attleboro short turn daily, all Providence Line trains run at least as far as Providence.

So, as far as I know, the Pilgrim Partnership is an agreement between states rather than interstate commerce. It's clearly very popular with both states; Rhode Island gets service to Providence for cheap and a willing operator for intrastate service; Massachusetts gets a solid ridership base and some extra money in the pot sometimes. I suspect any agreement with New Hampshire will be relatively similar.
"Give me an unobstructed right-of-way and I'll show them how to move the earth!"
User avatar
The EGE
 
Posts: 2452
Joined: Wed Feb 16, 2011 6:16 pm
Location: Waiting for the C Branch

Re: Governor's pitch to solve transportation funding woes

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Sat Jan 19, 2013 3:21 pm

The EGE wrote:So, as far as I know, the Pilgrim Partnership is an agreement between states rather than interstate commerce. It's clearly very popular with both states; Rhode Island gets service to Providence for cheap and a willing operator for intrastate service; Massachusetts gets a solid ridership base and some extra money in the pot sometimes. I suspect any agreement with New Hampshire will be relatively similar.


Yes. And one big advantage it provides is that it offers economy of scale to the equipment pool to have those out-of-state ownership stakes. The T would be slap-happy to run RIDOT South County CR, Providence-Woonsocket, and Concord-Boston as mercenary operator when that substantially enlarges the equipment pool for the whole system. Especially with the rollout of those services coinciding with a couple big equipment purchases they have to make around 2020. RIDOT doesn't own exclusive Providence coaches that have to be run to Providence...it's a minority shareholder in the whole fleet. That benefits all lines and helps the T swing big purchases like the Rotems and HSP-46's.
F-line to Dudley via Park
 
Posts: 7108
Joined: Fri Mar 11, 2005 7:26 pm
Location: North Cambridge

Previous

Return to Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA)

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot], jdb and 7 guests