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MBTA Secures Long-Term Funding for Critical Safety Initiative

Posted on November 13, 2017

Loans are an important step in funding implementation of Positive Train Control across the commuter rail system

BOSTON – The MBTA has secured $382 million in federal loans through the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) and Railroad Rehabilitation & Improvement Financing (RRIF) programs to support a critical safety initiative. Proceeds will be used exclusively on the MBTA’s Positive Train Control (PTC) project. TIFIA and RRIF are federal credit programs that support infrastructure projects of national significance and the development of railroad infrastructure, respectively. This marks the first-ever combined commitment under the two programs.

Congress enacted the Rail Safety Improvement Act (RSIA) of 2008, mandating the implementation of PTC technology on all passenger railroads. PTC systems are safety systems designed to prevent train-to-train collisions, over-speed derailments, incursions into established work zone limits, and movement of trains through track switches that may have been left in the incorrect position. PTC systems are comprised of an on-board apparatus for the locomotive controlling each applicable train, wayside devices (such as Wayside Interface Units), a centralized dispatch system in a back office, and a communication system that links all components.

"Securing long-term funding for the PTC project at a low interest rate puts us one step closer to our goal of achieving fiscal sustainability," said MBTA Acting CFO and Treasurer Paul Brandley. The MBTA issued the first-ever tax-exempt Sustainability Bonds in October to support other projects in its Capital Investment Program.

The MBTA Commuter Rail system averages 124,000 weekday passenger trips. It is the fifth busiest commuter rail system in the United States.

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