General MBTA Topics (Multi Modal, Budget, MassDOT)

KCasiglio

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I'm not questioning the low status of the current transit ridership, but the highway traffic volume numbers the podcast cites come from massDOT and are current as of a couple weeks ago, maybe their data is wrong but its certainly the best we have to go off of. Higher than pre-pandemic congestion levels won't be sustainable.
 

Highwayguy

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I'm not questioning the low status of the current transit ridership, but the highway traffic volume numbers the podcast cites come from massDOT and are current as of a couple weeks ago, maybe their data is wrong but its certainly the best we have to go off of. Higher than pre-pandemic congestion levels won't be sustainable.
Listened to the same podcast last week. Volume isn’t where it was but it has rebounded to near 2019 levels (80%ish if l remember?) outside of 128. Inside of 128 though volumes are still way down.
 

KCasiglio

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Listened to the same podcast last week. Volume isn’t where it was but it has rebounded to near 2019 levels (80%ish if l remember?) outside of 128. Inside of 128 though volumes are still way down.
They said its a time discrepancy not a location one, off peak traffic is up while peak traffic is still down
 

bigeman312

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Tangent: Thursday could be the T's highest ridership day in a year. The Bruins will have fans at 12% capacity at The Garden.

With the ongoing pandemic and shuttles on the Orange Line between Oak Grove and Sullivan as well as the Green Line between Lechmere and North Station, I suspect many fans will not be taking the T to the game, but we'll probably still see a slight uptick compared to COVID-normal.
 

shmessy

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Tangent: Thursday could be the T's highest ridership day in a year. The Bruins will have fans at 12% capacity at The Garden.

With the ongoing pandemic and shuttles on the Orange Line between Oak Grove and Sullivan as well as the Green Line between Lechmere and North Station, I suspect many fans will not be taking the T to the game, but we'll probably still see a slight uptick compared to COVID-normal.
Not sure how much of an uptick that will be. 12% of 19,600 is 2,346. How many of those 2,346 will be taking the T? Per your above note re: the shuttles and the Lechmere situation, I'm guessing there won't be much of a difference due to the B's game at all.
 

The EGE

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We're now up to three stations hit by structural deterioration in 2021: the footbridge at Suffolk Downs is closed. The station is still open, but it's a ten-minute walk around the horn to get to the opposite platform. Maybe it'll get rebuilt with actual elevators instead of the long, barely-accessible ramps.
 

Riverside

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I have... questions about all this? I mean, was there really that much active maintenance being done at any of those three stations beforehand? (i.e. maintenance that ceased during the pandemic) And obviously each of those stations will have seen less use since the pandemic began, so it's not like they deteriorated faster. So, wouldn't you think that if they are deficient now, they probably were deficient a year ago?
 

F-Line to Dudley

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I have... questions about all this? I mean, was there really that much active maintenance being done at any of those three stations beforehand? (i.e. maintenance that ceased during the pandemic) And obviously each of those stations will have seen less use since the pandemic began, so it's not like they deteriorated faster. So, wouldn't you think that if they are deficient now, they probably were deficient a year ago?
But were they being structurally inspected on-schedule a year ago? It fits if the inspectors are only now getting caught up on missed regular rounds.
 

Riverside

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But were they being structurally inspected on-schedule a year ago? It fits if the inspectors are only now getting caught up on missed regular rounds.
I suppose, but that still goes back to the question of, "Were these structures really just one year of deferred inspections away from being unsound?" I mean, I guess if there was a full year of minor monthly maintenance deferred, that kinda makes sense. But I do wonder whether we'll get to the point where the T has to start to explain why all these closures are happening.
 

stefal

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Inspections are likely behind.

I'd be willing to bet there are likely new standards and procedures on the inspections that are leading to new conclusions. It's something they've slowly been working on getting streamlined and standardized (it takes a while to meet "new" FTA regs).
 

The EGE

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None of them were much of a surprise. South Attleboro has had staircases closed for years, Winchester Center had platform bits falling to the road several years ago, and Suffolk Downs has had major rust issues (take a look at the steps) for a while now. It was inevitable that they'd start failing inspections sooner or later.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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None of them were much of a surprise. South Attleboro has had staircases closed for years, Winchester Center had platform bits falling to the road several years ago, and Suffolk Downs has had major rust issues (take a look at the steps) for a while now. It was inevitable that they'd start failing inspections sooner or later.
Shit...SD's rust is a major placefinder on Google Maps. Can't miss the roof corrosion on that now condemned overpass.
 

ra84970

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Inspections are likely behind.

I'd be willing to bet there are likely new standards and procedures on the inspections that are leading to new conclusions. It's something they've slowly been working on getting streamlined and standardized (it takes a while to meet "new" FTA regs).
And added to that is the new safety focus of the agency after hiring their C-level safety officer who actually seems a competent guy who knows how to work the levers of C-level management.
 

vanshnookenraggen

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Boston-Historic.png


Won't waste your time by starting a new thread but I just released the Historic T Expansion Track Map looking at *every* official expansion plan for the T since 1897. There is a lot going on so check out the How To Read section first.


PDF is available on my website.
 

Roxxma

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View attachment 11559

Won't waste your time by starting a new thread but I just released the Historic T Expansion Track Map looking at *every* official expansion plan for the T since 1897. There is a lot going on so check out the How To Read section first.


PDF is available on my website.
That is great, cheers to you! As a former park ranger, I love the NPS Unigrid format.
 

Charlie_mta

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Won't waste your time by starting a new thread but I just released the Historic T Expansion Track Map looking at *every* official expansion plan for the T since 1897. There is a lot going on so check out the How To Read section first.


PDF is available on my website.
My hat is off to you sir. That is quite a prolific work, as well as your website's descriptions of the transit lines' histories. Bravo!
 

Stlin

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So... I got really quite bored last night, and went hunting for the legislative language that bans FTA funding from being spent on CRRC product, and I found a couple of interesting things buried in the text. By the text of the law, if a state were to strike out on its own and self fund purchases of CRRC rolling stock without FTA assistance, such an action would forfeit that fiscal year's FTA allotment of 5337 State of Good Repair funds.
(4)(A) IN GENERAL.—Except as provided in paragraph (5), as a condition of financial assistance made available in a fiscal year under section 5337, a recipient that operates rail fixed guideway service shall certify in that fiscal year that the recipient will not award any contract or subcontract for the procurement of rail rolling stock for use in public transportation with a rail rolling stock manufacturer described in paragraph (1).
However, there is a grandfather clause written into the law. My read of this exclusion is that any agency that had a preexisting contract with CRRC is permanently exempt from all provisions of this new section, and therefore any contract entered into by those agencies can continue to receive FTA funding assistance and/or choose to self fund such purchases without incurring penalties from the FTA in their SOGR funding. There are 4 agencies that qualify under this rule: SEPTA, CTA, LA Metro, and the MBTA. As the exception is at the agency level and not based on existing contracts, its a total exception for those 4 agencies, and should they execute any future contract for rolling stock with CRRC it would also be eligible for FTA funding, regardless of mode or application.
(5)(A) PARTIES TO EXECUTED CONTRACTS.—This subsection, including the certification requirement under paragraph (4), shall not apply to the award of any contract or subcontract made by a public transportation agency with a rail rolling stock manufacturer described in paragraph (1) if the manufacturer and the public transportation agency have executed a contract for rail rolling stock before the date of enactment of this subsection.
Notably, the FTA seems to agree with this interpretation referring to it as an lifetime exemption from restrictions.
Any public transportation agency that formed a contract for rail rolling stock with an otherwise restricted manufacturer prior to December 20, 2019, is permanently exempt from the restrictions of Section 5323(u) for rail rolling stock procured from that particular manufacturer.
As such despite SEPTA buying CR coaches, an order for subway cars or trams would also pass muster for FTA funding; likewise the same is true for the MBTA should CRRC bid for CR coaches, electrification or GL type 10s. Nor is there a sunset clause; should orders dry up, there's no reason CRRC MA couldn't idle the facility and keep the corporation alive on paper to be revived should they win another order in the future. I would tend to assume that this means CRRC MA will be very aggressive in bidding for any opportunity that arises from any of those 4 agencies, as those are now effectively its only customer base. I also would expect that MA would likely feel at least somewhat comfortable self funding if it meant the ability to force an in-state manufacturing requirement to keep the jobs in Springfield.

Full text of the new subsection below if anyone else is interested in parsing the legalese and has a different interpretation of the text.
SEC. 7613. LIMITATION ON CERTAIN ROLLING STOCK PROCUREMENTS; CYBERSECURITY CERTIFICATION FOR RAIL ROLLING STOCK AND OPERATIONS.
Section 5323 of title 49, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:

(u) LIMITATION ON CERTAIN ROLLING STOCK PROCUREMENTS.—
(1) IN GENERAL.—Except as provided in paragraph (5), financial assistance made available under this chapter shall not be used in awarding a contract or subcontract to an entity on or after the date of enactment of this subsection for the procurement of rolling stock for use in public transportation if the manufacturer of the rolling stock—​
(A) is incorporated in or has manufacturing facilities in the United States; and​
(B) is owned or controlled by, is a subsidiary of, or is otherwise related legally or financially to a corporation based in a country that—​
(i) is identified as a nonmarket economy country (as defined in section 771(18) of the Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1677(18))) as of the date of enactment of this subsection;​
(ii) was identified by the United States Trade Representative in the most recent report required by section 182 of the Trade Act of 1974 (19 U.S.C. 2242) as a foreign country included on the priority watch list defined in subsection (g)(3) of that section; and​
(iii) is subject to monitoring by the Trade Representative under section 306 of the Trade Act of 1974 (19 U.S.C. 2416).​

(2) EXCEPTION.—For purposes of paragraph (1), the term ‘otherwise related legally or financially’ does not include a minority relationship or investment.​
(3) INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENTS.—This subsection shall be applied in a manner consistent with the obligations of the United States under international agreements.​
(4) CERTIFICATION FOR RAIL ROLLING STOCK.—​
(A) IN GENERAL.—Except as provided in paragraph (5), as a condition of financial assistance made available in a fiscal year under section 5337, a recipient that operates rail fixed guideway service shall certify in that fiscal year that the recipient will not award any contract or subcontract for the procurement of rail rolling stock for use in public transportation with a rail rolling stock manufacturer described in paragraph (1).​
(B) SEPARATE CERTIFICATION.—The certification required under this paragraph shall be in addition to any certification the Secretary establishes to ensure compliance with the requirements of paragraph (1).​
(5) SPECIAL RULES.—​
(A) PARTIES TO EXECUTED CONTRACTS.—This subsection, including the certification requirement under paragraph (4), shall not apply to the award of any contract or subcontract made by a public transportation agency with a rail rolling stock manufacturer described in paragraph (1) if the manufacturer and the public transportation agency have executed a contract for rail rolling stock before the date of enactment of this subsection.​
(B) ROLLING STOCK.—Except as provided in subparagraph (C) and for a contract or subcontract that is not described in subparagraph (A), this subsection, including the certification requirement under paragraph (4), shall not apply to the award of a contract or subcontract made by a public transportation agency with any rolling stock manufacturer for the 2-year period beginning on or after the date of enactment of this subsection.​
(C) EXCEPTION.—Subparagraph (B) shall not apply to the award of a contract or subcontract made by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.​
 
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F-Line to Dudley

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Trade policy is the least of CRRC's worries right now. There isn't a single rolling stock manufacturer who's been hit harder by supply-chaining delays during COVID than CRRC-America with their 4 clients. We know about the OL/RL delays. Springfield's also over a year late producing SEPTA's first pilot RR coach...which in turn kicks out Exo Montreal's order based on the same design at least 1-2 years. The Illinois plant was 14 months late producing the CTA 7000 series pilot HRT set. And now they're attempting to multitask getting their newest Southern California plant online so L.A. Metro's wholesale HRT replacement order doesn't cascade into similar delays. COVID kicked everyone's asses on the supply chain, but thus far CRRC's competitors aren't tallying up their delays by whole calendar years. So...first things first. They've got to scramble to get the MA + IL plants back on-track, and draw a red line in the sand that the new Cali factory isn't going to be negatively impacted by the bailouts at the other two. The 3 king-size orders all being HRT cars gives them a natural rallying point around that mode.

Because of the indemnities you listed, CRRC was allowed to bid unrestricted for Metra's 500+ unit, 10-year contract for next-gen low-boarding bi-level RR coaches to replace its venerable gallery cars. They came in 3rd out of 3 bidders...behind #2 Bombardier (peddling their market-leader BLV's) and #1 Alstom. So just a couple weeks ago Alstom ended up scoring their first-ever North American commuter rail rolling stock contract with an adapted Euro make from their Coradia family by winning this one. Apparently it wasn't a very aggressive bid at all by CRRC because of how they're circling the wagons around salvaging the CTA subway order's schedule. Alstom managed to prevail by promising a more aggressive delivery schedule despite the assembly plant being in Hornell, NY instead of Illinois.

CRRC has similarly been gun-shy over this same span in light rail. They build shitloads of LRV's overseas, but to date have released no statement whatsoever about interest in Springfield participating in the MBTA's 200+ unit, decade-long Type 10 procurement. The RFP's deadline has been extended so they may still be scheming, but the radio silence is conspicuous amid the scrutiny they're facing over getting the Orange/Red HRT orders back on-track. In the absence of those stressors it would've paid them to be *loud* about their interest because #2 market leader Bombardier (Siemens being #1) is coming off a hellish 3+ year stretch of delivery delays with its North American Flexity LRV's that had their rep getting dragged through the mud (esp. in their native Canada where the Toronto Streetcar mega-order was the sticking point). BBD has basically crawled itself back off the floor and back into LRV contention after righting that ship, without being preyed on (a thing they thank their lucky stars for as their HRT division now goes into full-on self-immolation over their tortured NYC Subway orders). No state has bought more LRV's in the last 3 years than California, where CRRC's L.A. factory would similarly be sanctions-exempted like the Illinois factory. #1 Siemens is thus far pitching a shutout in Cali...picking up the SF MUNI, San Diego Trolley, Sacramento RT, and brand-new Orange County system over the last few years. (L.A. Metro is still tapping option orders on an older Kinki-Sharyo procurement for all its massive LRT system expansion, and hasn't bid out anything all-new since 2014). If CRRC really wanted to undercut the shit out of everyone, they would've played their Cali exemption to the hilt. That doesn't seem to be the case, likely because sanctity of their HRT-assembly supply chains runs paramount in their corporate plans over attempting to multitask modes (to not-insignificant peril!).

So the evidence is murky at best that they're really sitting on any sort of ace-in-the-hole with the MA/IL/CA sanction exemptions that pure nationalistic Manifest Destiny is going to power right thru if they throw enough resources at the problem. If anything, they're heeding the recent examples of Bombardier (LRT dodged bullet + very worlds-destroying ongoing HRT hell), Kawasaki (so overburdened by late NYC orders that they publicly took a knee from non-MTA bidding for a few years), and Nippon-Sharyo (company-destroying whiff and ensuing blackballing on their aborted Amtrak bi-level contract) to not over-multitask to their own detriment and circle the wagons around HRT stock as their base of strength. That probably means their MBTA EMU RFI bid is still a heavy outlier to get re-bid in any way/shape/form for the RFP, that they're going to be something a bit less than go-for-broke on the Type 10 LRV's (if they're even playing at all now), and that they'd have to hope for the T's 200-coach Purple Line order to get delayed out a couple years instead of being issued later this year in order to hit that one with suitable aggro (way-delayed SEPTA pilot punishing them vs. Bombardier being able to bid hot assembly line of production-ready MLV's, Masshole pols concern-trolling over taking on more before licking the Orange/Red delays, etc.). Timing, unfortunately, tends to be everything when it comes to riding a wave on the cutthroat rolling stock market...and they're backed into a recovery posture as far as this current wave goes.
 
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