June 13, 2024

The Looming Fiscal Fiasco for the MBTA

The MBTA has made important strides. It increased its operating staff by 1,200 since June 2022 and has improved its handling of safety and service issues that have plagued the Authority for several years. However, it still has a long uphill climb. The FY 2025 budget estimates the Authority needs approximately 8,000 operating personnel to run current service levels and support all safety initiatives, meaning that it must increase headcount by another 1,000 or more from the latest figures (Appendix).  That comes at a cost.

This summer, the MBTA will submit to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) two workforce reports that will make the Authority’s dilemma more clear. This month, the MBTA will submit to the FTA the final draft of its workforce assessment plan (WFA) detailing the number of personnel needed to safely and reliably maintain and operate the current system.  Later this summer, the MBTA must also submit to the FTA a five-year Recruiting and Hiring Plan that includes how the Authority plans to fill operations, maintenance, and capital project delivery positions to address the findings of the WFA.