MBTA's Repair Backlog Climbs Above $7 Billion

Passengers board an MBTA Green Line in Boston. (Steven Senne/AP)
Passengers board an MBTA Green Line in Boston. (Steven Senne/AP)

The projected cost of bringing Boston's transit system into overall sound working order has climbed again.

Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority officials were announcing on Monday that the system's State of Good Repair backlog was now estimated at $7.3 billion, an increase of more than $650 million from a previous estimate earlier this year.

The new figures were being offered at meeting of the MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board, which was created last month to oversee the cash-strapped system.

The backlog is defined as the total amount it would cost to bring all assets up to ideal working order.

MBTA officials credit the increase to a better cataloging of records, saying that the T's database of assets has grown to more than 250,000.

The T's aging infrastructure was exposed during a severe stretch of winter weather earlier this year that resulted in massive equipment breakdowns, canceled trains and stranded passengers.

T Chief Administrator Brian Shortsleeve added that the agency is on track for a $170 million shortfall in fiscal year 2016, a 40 percent increase from the fiscal year that closed at the end of June.

"In FY 15, our revenues increased by just under $40 million, but our operating expenses increased by twice that," Shortsleeve told the board Monday.

That's despite better than expected financial figures for the month of July.

With additional reporting by WBUR's Jack Lepiarz


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