The MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board voted Monday to approve a plan to perform large-scale renovations on the region’s commuter rail system. This comes as one of the first steps in a project aimed at increasing public transit ridership and decreasing the number of people commuting by car each day, the Associated Press reports.
The MBTA last month outlined six potential renovation plans in its Rail Vision study. The plans include elements like new electric locomotives, station renovations, additional track mileage, signal upgrades, and increases trip frequencies. The most expensive plan, estimated to cost $28.9 billion, features complete electrification of the commuter rail system, trains every fifteen minutes, and a new tunnel linking South and North stations. The least expensive plan features simply a “higher frequency commuter rail” (more rides per day).
Each plan increases daily boardings by thousands, with the north side seeing the highest increases. The most expensive plan predicts to increases daily boardings by a whopping 150 percent.
“This is going to be a generational plan,” said board member Brian Lang.
Governor Charlie Baker and other top officials haven’t specified an exact cost estimate and timetable, or how the project will be funded.
TransitMatters said in a statement that they “believe that this is an important first step toward transforming our current antiquated Commuter Rail system.”
“Things that we can do, we should do,” said board member Chrystal Komegay, “but we should do them in the context of this long-range plan.”