June 15, 2020

The MBTA Operating Budget – It’s Déjà Vu All Over Again

Driven by operating costs that were already growing and the pandemic’s deep impacts on
revenues, a Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (hereinafter the MBTA or the T) operating
budget that was in balance in FY 19 is now moving backward toward a deficit of more than
$400 million in FY 22. And the T’s longer-term fiscal trajectory is unsustainable, heading to the
same “severe imbalance between costs and revenue” identified in 2015 by Governor Baker’s
Special Panel to Review the MBTA, which led to the creation of the Fiscal and Management
Control Board (FMCB).

With the FMCB near its end, the incoming MBTA board will face a financial outlook even bleaker
than that of 2015, with limited capacity to act without impacting current or planned MBTA