September 16, 2021


MTF issues its latest analysis of MBTA finances. Despite the recent infusion of federal funds and due in part to the unforeseen effects of the pandemic, the report documents the imminent financial cliff that will face the agency in 2023. The intent of this report is to make the case why lawmakers must focus on this agency’s troubled finances and consider the critical actions they must take in the next two years to get the MBTA on sound financial footing.  

Among its key findings are the following:

  • Beginning in July of 2023, the MBTA’s operating budget is hundreds of millions of dollars in the red, requiring substantial fare increases or service cuts almost immediately to address the shortfall. 
  • Available capital sources to fix the existing infrastructure plummet in July 2024, leaving the MBTA $13 billion short of its projected needs. 
  • This $13 billion capital sources gap does not include sufficient funding to reduce greenhouse gas emissions nor to protect MBTA’s infrastructure from sea level rise and storm surge. Factoring in climate change costs, the MBTA is short approximately $20 billion for the period from 2023 through 2031. The federal infrastructure bill, if passed, will not meaningfully change this shortfall.
  • These two shortfalls – operating and capital – translate into a need for approximately $1.25 billion in new, dedicated revenues annually.
  • This $1.25 billion in new, dedicated funds do not cover any expanded service beyond GLX, South Coast Rail, and the Red/Blue Connector. If any additional expansion of services is to be  considered, new funding on top of the $1.25 billion must be identified so that they do not divert available resources from the existing system.
MBTA finances867.22 KB