https://pioneerinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/Copy-of-11.-Employees-of-the-Public-Sector-1-3.png 512 1024 EJ McMahon https://pioneerinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/logo_440x96.png EJ McMahon2022-06-21 06:41:572022-06-21 06:41:57Rolling the Retirement Dice: Why the MBTA Should Steer Clear of Pension Bonds
This study illustrates why issuing pension obligation bonds (POBs) to refinance $360 million of the MBTA Retirement Fund’s (MBTARF’s) $1.3 billion unfunded pension liability would only compound the T’s already serious financial risks.
https://pioneerinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/public-statement-3.png 900 1600 Andrew Mikula https://pioneerinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/logo_440x96.png Andrew Mikula2022-05-18 21:31:002022-05-18 21:31:00The MBTA’s Automated Fare Collection Modernization Contract: Over-Budget And Behind Schedule, But Now Back On Track
This new study unearths previously unseen communications between the MBTA and its contractors, showing that the MBTA’s efforts to modernize its fare collection system, including allowing payments with credit cards and bringing “tap and go” technology to Commuter Rail and ferry lines, was riddled with technological challenges and difficulties overseeing contractors as early as 2019, culminating in a 3-year delay to the project’s full implementation. The report also highlights key insights regarding the MBTA’s administrative capacity and hiring efforts needed to oversee the project’s implementation.
https://pioneerinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/public-statement-zoning.png 900 1600 Andrew Mikula https://pioneerinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/logo_440x96.png Andrew Mikula2022-04-11 10:03:442022-04-11 10:03:44A Vision for Sustainable, Transit-oriented Development
In this public comment, Pioneer Institute examines the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development's guidelines on how localities can comply with new zoning mandates around MBTA stations. While some of the compliance criteria and goal-setting language need further clarification and adjustment, overall Pioneer Institute is supportive of the vision for sustainable, transit-oriented development which, if properly implemented, will expand economic opportunity to a new generation of the state's residents.
https://pioneerinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/Copy-of-11.-Employees-of-the-Public-Sector-1-2.png 512 1024 Collin Quigley https://pioneerinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/logo_440x96.png Collin Quigley2022-02-08 06:06:582022-02-08 06:06:58Bus Rapid Transit: Costs and Benefits of a Transit Alternative
Bus rapid transit (BRT) incorporates unique features such as dedicated lanes to provide reliable and cost-effective service while reducing congestion and its detrimental environmental impacts.
https://pioneerinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/FareEvasionWeb.png 512 1024 Greg Sullivan https://pioneerinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/logo_440x96.png Greg Sullivan2022-01-18 14:21:482022-01-19 06:14:19The MBTA’s Looming Bus and Green Line Fare Evasion Crisis
This report warns that the MBTA will likely face a fare evasion crisis when it transitions to all-door boarding on buses, the Green Line, and the Mattapan trolley in 2023. General Manager Steve Poftak and MBTA staff have signaled the potential for a $25–30 million spike in fare evasion costs when the new AFC 2.0 system is implemented unless the MBTA institutes meaningful, enforceable penalties for fare evaders. In this report, Pioneer Institute makes recommendations for managing the AFC 2.0 contract and related fare evasion procedures going forward.
https://pioneerinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/Allston-map-1030x611-1.png 611 1030 Mary Connaughton https://pioneerinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/logo_440x96.png Mary Connaughton2020-11-05 12:23:592020-11-05 13:50:49Public Comment on I-90 Allston Multimodal Project
Last year, Pioneer Institute proposed that the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) revise its Scoping Report on the I-90 Allston Multimodal Project and recommend an additional option - a modified at-grade option for the throat area - to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The Institute believed then and continues to believe that an all at-grade design will shorten construction time, lower costs, create fewer negative economic and congestion impacts, and improve neighborhood access to parkland along the Charles River.
https://pioneerinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/Allston-map.png 669 1128 Mary Connaughton https://pioneerinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/logo_440x96.png Mary Connaughton2020-10-19 13:37:552020-10-19 13:37:55Public Testimony to the Joint Meeting of the MassDOT Board of Directors and Fiscal Management Control Board
Public Testimony to the Joint Meeting of the MassDOT Board of Directors and Fiscal Management Control Board regarding the Allston Multimodal Project, on Oct. 19th, 2020 by Mary Z. Connaughton, Pioneer Institute.
https://pioneerinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/credit-card-4.png 512 1024 Andrew Mikula https://pioneerinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/logo_440x96.png Andrew Mikula2020-05-26 15:06:482021-02-15 14:30:44Telecommuting Survey Reveals Potential for Greater Shift Towards Remote Work After COVID-19 Pandemic
Citing an avoidance of the commute and more flexible scheduling, nearly 63 percent of respondents to Pioneer Institute’s survey, “Will You Commute To Work When The COVID-19 Crisis Is Over?” expressed a preference to work from home one day a week, and a plurality preferred two to three days a week, even after a COVID-19 vaccine is available.
https://pioneerinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/MBTA4.jpg 641 960 Andrew Mikula https://pioneerinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/logo_440x96.png Andrew Mikula2020-04-23 15:46:042020-06-24 19:06:12U.S. Transit Systems and COVID-19: How does the MBTA Compare?
The MBTA is taking a number of important steps to mitigate risks associated with the coronavirus, but some transit agencies around the country - from Philadelphia to San Francisco - have done significantly more.
https://pioneerinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/iStock-959663212.jpg 2731 4096 Jim Stergios https://pioneerinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/logo_440x96.png Jim Stergios2020-01-27 16:40:202020-06-29 13:26:00A Control Board Equipped for for the Next Phase of MBTA Reform
A new policy brief by Pioneer Institute Executive Director Jim Stergios calls on the Massachusetts Legislature to extend the life of the MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board beyond the current fiscal year ending on June 30, and adjust it to address the agency's new challenges.
https://pioneerinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/Allston-map.png 669 1128 Mary Connaughton https://pioneerinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/logo_440x96.png Mary Connaughton2019-12-10 16:43:282020-06-29 13:27:44Public Comment on MassDOT’s I-90 Allston Multimodal Project National Environmental Policy Act Review Scoping Report
Pioneer Institute’s Public Comment calls on the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) to revise its Scoping Report on the I-90 Allston Multimodal Project and recommend an additional option to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The Institute believes that closer analysis of an at-grade option may reveal that an at-grade design will shorten construction time, lower costs, create fewer negative economic and congestion impacts, and improve neighborhood access to parkland along the Charles River.
https://pioneerinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/MBTA-bus-image-1-e1517851963497.jpg 466 700 David Clancy https://pioneerinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/logo_440x96.png David Clancy2019-10-10 16:56:132020-06-29 13:29:52The Merit Rating Board: Review and Recommendations
Significant administrative failings involving the Registry of Motor Vehicles have drawn attention to an entity called the Merit Rating Board (MRB or the Board). MRB’s administrative personnel and processes have been the subject of sharp criticism, and also extensive ongoing reform efforts. This policy brief reviews the relevant circumstances, and makes recommendations for consideration by MRB and other government personnel as they move forward.
https://pioneerinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/MBTA-1.png 680 1019 Greg Sullivan https://pioneerinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/logo_440x96.png Greg Sullivan2019-10-07 10:21:452020-06-29 13:30:51The $8.5 Billion Marshall Plan for MBTA Needs
Going from much larger capital budgets to delivering the actual projects needed to repair and modernize the MBTA will require a “Marshall Plan” that includes improving T hiring practices and internal organization, as well as the strategic use of external resources.
https://pioneerinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/mbta-train.jpg 363 541 Ian Ollis https://pioneerinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/logo_440x96.png Ian Ollis2019-08-06 10:24:552020-06-29 13:32:52The MBTAs Capital Spending Crisis
The Massachusetts Legislature must free the MBTA from overly restrictive procurement methods and the T must dramatically increase its project and contract management capacity if it is to reach aggressive capital spending targets aimed at upgrading the system and accommodating more riders.
https://pioneerinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/MBTA-Subway-Returns-Feature.jpg 450 600 Greg Sullivan https://pioneerinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/logo_440x96.png Greg Sullivan2019-03-01 15:08:532020-06-29 13:49:29Williams and Markopolos Were Proven Right: MBTARF Was Underreporting Its Unfunded Pension Liabilities Just as the Whistleblowers Said in Their 2015 Report
In a new brief, Pioneer shows that whistleblowers’ 2015 claims that the MBTA Retirement Fund (MBTARF) has been underreporting its unfunded pension liabilities was correct. In their study, Boston University Professor Mark T. Williams and Bernie Madoff whistleblower Harry Markopolos outlined three specific ways in which the T pension fund was misrepresenting its liability, by a total of $280 million. At the time, MBTARF vigorously refuted the validity of the findings, but a new Pioneer brief presents in-depth analysis vindicating Williams and Markopolos.
https://pioneerinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/MBTA-Winter-Recap-Feature.jpg 854 1280 Kaila Webb https://pioneerinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/logo_440x96.png Kaila Webb2018-12-03 15:52:572020-06-29 13:59:28Commuter Rail Twitter Reveals History of Delays
A review of four years of MBTA commuter rail Twitter alerts reveals that the number of trains that are “delayed” has fallen, but there is a commensurate increase in the number of trains classified as “running behind,” leaving the overall number of late trains largely unchanged.
https://pioneerinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/credit-card-23.png 512 1024 Michael Chieppo https://pioneerinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/logo_440x96.png Michael Chieppo2018-11-26 15:56:232020-06-29 14:00:33What Ever Happened to Flagger Reform?
The unusual way in which Massachusetts determines prevailing wages and the fact that civilian flaggers are subject to state prevailing wage law explain why a 2008 law that ended the Commonwealth’s status as the only state to require police at road construction projects has failed to generate substantial savings.
https://pioneerinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/longfellow.jpg 691 463 Dave Westerling https://pioneerinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/logo_440x96.png Dave Westerling2018-11-19 16:01:172020-06-29 14:01:29Looking Back at Longfellow Bridge
Reconstruction of the Longfellow Bridge is now complete, and the co-author of a landmark study about the Longfellow’s restoration sees reasons to be optimistic that the Commonwealth is becoming more responsible about maintaining its infrastructure assets.
https://pioneerinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/MBTA_Green_Line_B-1.jpg 768 1024 Pioneer Institute https://pioneerinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/logo_440x96.png Pioneer Institute2018-10-31 16:23:342020-06-29 14:06:20On the Governor’s Commission on the Future of Transportation
Pioneer Institute is grateful for the opportunity to share brief thoughts on the work of the Governor’s Commission on the Future of Transportation. Our comments are focused on four issues: (1) governance, (2) budgeting and operations, (3) the role of public transportation at a time of rapid private market transformation, and (4) the need to set increasing ridership as the top strategic transit goal.
https://pioneerinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/MBTA-1.png 680 1019 Robert Dawson https://pioneerinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/logo_440x96.png Robert Dawson2018-01-24 15:41:362020-06-29 15:50:52Increasing MBTA Ridership and Revenue with Company Commuter Benefit Programs
This report illustrates that increased use of employer-sponsored commuter benefit programs could boost MBTA revenue significantly, reduce employee commuting costs, provide employer savings, reduce traffic congestion and yield environmental benefits.
https://pioneerinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/MBTA-bus-image-1-e1517851963497.jpg 466 700 Charles Chieppo https://pioneerinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/logo_440x96.png Charles Chieppo2017-10-04 16:16:062020-06-29 16:18:40Testimony to the Senate Committee on Post Audit and Oversight on MBTA Bus Maintenance Reform
Charles Chieppo provides public testimony regarding the "Post Audit and Oversight on MBTA Bus Maintenance Reform."
https://pioneerinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/Harbor_Express_MBTA_Ferry.jpg 1712 2575 Matt Blackbourn https://pioneerinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/logo_440x96.png Matt Blackbourn2017-09-01 16:24:122020-06-29 16:25:40Is it time to expand water transportation in Greater Boston?
A comprehensive study of the MBTA ferry service’s performance as a transit mode and how it compares to other ferry operators nationwide offers useful insights for policy discussion on future water transportation in Massachusetts Bay, according to a new study published by Pioneer Institute.
https://pioneerinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/MBTA_Green_Line_B-1.jpg 768 1024 Greg Sullivan https://pioneerinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/logo_440x96.png Greg Sullivan2017-06-05 16:41:262020-06-29 16:43:00The Bombshell Cheiron Report: The MBTA Just Got A $1.485 Billion Pension Bill That It Can’t Possibly Pay
This report asserts that with the current MBTA pension agreement set to expire in June 2018 and a new evaluation projecting a $1.485 billion increase in retirement costs over the next 18 years under terms of the current agreement, the T’s Fiscal and Management Control Board (FMCB) should take immediate action to protect the authority’s precarious finances.
https://pioneerinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/MBTA-inside-e1543503775352.jpg 340 340 Iliya Atanasov https://pioneerinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/logo_440x96.png Iliya Atanasov2017-04-05 10:47:302020-07-01 10:49:46Forensic Mysteries from the MBTA Retirement Fund’s Actuarial Reports
This report documents significant deficiencies in the actuarial valuations produced by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Retirement Fund (MBTARF) since 1990. Analysis of about a quarter-century of data suggests that the MBTARF's actuarial reports may have deviated considerably from the true cost of pension benefits. As of yearend 2015, the fund had an estimated unfunded liability of about $944 million.
https://pioneerinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/Mbta-redline.jpg 768 1024 Jim Stergios https://pioneerinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/logo_440x96.png Jim Stergios2017-03-28 10:50:082020-07-01 10:52:15Putting The T On A Clear Path To High Performance
Much has been accomplished in the past 20 months. The draft strategic plan, however, correctly notes that the MBTA is still nowhere near where the riding public needs it to be. Pioneer Institute believes that getting there will require maintaining the same kind of discipline and urgency that the Control Board has made possible, but over a longer and more explicitly defined period.
https://pioneerinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/Bus-Picture.jpg 682 1022 Greg Sullivan https://pioneerinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/logo_440x96.png Greg Sullivan2017-03-24 10:52:292021-11-23 10:20:272015 MBTA Bus Maintenance Costs Were Nation’s Highest
This report compares MBTA bus maintenance costs with those of five transit agencies identified as peers by the Integrated National Transit Database Analysis System. In 2015, the MBTA had the highest vehicle maintenance cost per hour of bus operation of the six transit agencies identified as peers by INTDAS.
https://pioneerinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/mbta-map.jpg 425 635 Greg Sullivan https://pioneerinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/logo_440x96.png Greg Sullivan2017-01-17 11:06:402020-07-01 11:08:38Recommendation to the FMCB: Retain an Independent Auditor and Actuary to Review the MBTARF
The present policy paper argues that FMCB must conduct an independent audit and actuarial valuation of the fund, because of specific failures and omissions even in the limited work that FTI did. In doing so, we find that in opposition to the claims of FTI, the claims of potential malfeasance and poor management by the MBTARF Board, which came from noted whistleblower Harry Markopolos and Boston University Professor Mark Williams, were likely accurate.
https://pioneerinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/MBTA-Subway-Returns-Feature.jpg 450 600 Greg Sullivan https://pioneerinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/logo_440x96.png Greg Sullivan2016-12-15 11:14:072020-07-01 11:16:12Fixing the MBTA Retirement Fund: Reforming a Pension Fund in Crisis
This report examines the MBTA Retirement Fund's unfunded liability and compares MBTA and state employee and employer retirement contributions. It recommends that the MBTA assess the feasibility of moving its employees out of the Social Security system and transfer investment management responsibility for its pension fund to the commonwealth’s Pension Reserves Investment Management board as initial steps toward terminating the MBTA Retirement Fund (MBTARF).
https://pioneerinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/MBTA-Subway-Returns-Feature-2.jpg 480 640 Greg Sullivan https://pioneerinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/logo_440x96.png Greg Sullivan2016-12-07 11:17:562020-07-01 11:18:15Aim High on MBTA Ridership: A big-picture take on the T’s strategic plan
This report focuses on setting a strategic target for substantial increases in MBTA ridership. The author examines ridership trends from 2002 through the most recent available data for 20162, tracking annual growth in ridership from September through August for each year on the following six transit modes: heavy rail (the Blue, Orange and Red Lines), light rail (Green Line), commuter rail, bus, trolley bus and ferry service. The report offers projections of potential revenue the MBTA could generate in a range of scenarios.
https://pioneerinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/MBTA_Green_Line_B.jpg 768 1024 Jim Stergios https://pioneerinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/logo_440x96.png Jim Stergios2016-10-20 12:35:192020-07-01 12:37:27Public Comment for the Stakeholder Input Meeting
Jim Stergios shares Pioneer Institute's perspective on the Strategic Plan being developed by the Fiscal and Management Control Board. Please allow me to make a few observations on “Strategic Planning Update, September 26, 2016,” the 23-page slide deck that has been made publicly available.