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May 8, 2017
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10 Park Plaza
Second Floor Board Room
Boston, MA 02150
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April 28, 2017

MassDOT: Pay By Plate “Grace Period” Ends May 8

EZDriveMA MassDOT reminds members of the public without E-ZPass transponders who have been billed for travel on I-90 (the Massachusetts Turnpike) through the Pay By Plate system that they have until May 8, 2017, to take advantage of MassDOT’s E-ZPass “grace period.” The ‘grace period’ was instituted as a result of public comment during the AET Public Process and was originally an idea of the MassDOT Board of Directors. 

The grace period allows a customer to pay their Pay By Plate toll(s) at the lower E-ZPassMA rate and receive a credit that is equivalent to the difference in the rates between the E-ZPass MA and Pay By Plate tolling rates. Customers can do this by signing up for E-ZPassMA after paying their bill in full. The grace period has helped ensure customers without an E-ZPassMA account could still pay the lowest All Electronic Tolling rate and encouraged increased E-ZPassMA usage across the state. 

Over 16,000 Pay By Plate bills have already been converted to E-ZPassMA through the grace period program since October 28, 2016 and MassDOT is exceeding its goal of 85% E-ZPass usage. To date, approximately 86% of transactions have been processed using E-ZPass. The grace period program helped MassDOT achieve this goal, as well as a robust public outreach and marketing plan that was implemented in the months leading up to All Electronic Tolling “go-live.”  

MassDOT encourages all Pay By Plate customers who wish to take advantage of the grace period program to do so before May 8. Customers can convert their Pay By Plate bill online at www.EZDriveMA.com in order to receive a credit for the difference between the tolling rates, a credit provided after a customer pays his or her Pay By Plate invoices in full. Customers can also take advantage of the program by calling the EZDriveMA hotline at (877) 627-7745 or by visiting one of the Customer Service Centers.


Sumner Tunnel Toll Demolition Moving Forward

MassDOT is moving forward with toll demolition and road reconstruction operations at the existing toll plaza at the entrance to the Sumner Tunnel in East Boston. 

Work-related logistical activities at the Sumner Tunnel began last week including marking utilities and installing temporary signage and the full scope of work for this project consists of removing the existing toll plaza structure, removing roadway materials, milling and paving, and preparing the roadway for after plaza demolition traffic usage. 

“At the request of the local community, we waited to proceed with toll plaza demolition activities at this location and incorporated public feedback in the project design,” said Highway Administrator Thomas J. Tinlin. “We are pleased that after many conversations and public meetings we now have a scope of work and timeline that satisfies the needs of our project team and for the adjacent neighborhoods. This toll plaza at the Sumner is the last remaining work zone where plaza demolition needs to occur and, as with the other work zones in the state, we have planned the design and management activities to minimize work during peak travel times and to allow for advance notice to the public.” 

During the weekend of May 5 through May 7, MassDOT will conduct demolition activities of the toll plaza structures and canopies which will require overnight off-peak closures of the Sumner Tunnel. The toll plaza structures and canopies are expected to be removed in their entirety by May 8, and all work is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2017 as is true with work at all other former toll plaza locations throughout the Commonwealth. 

Throughout this project, two lanes of travel will be maintained throughout the project area with a temporary traffic signal controlling local street access into the Sumner Tunnel. In order to allow crews to safely and effectively conduct construction operations, there will be temporary off-peak lane closures at various points throughout the project. More information regarding traffic impacts will be provided as it becomes available. 

Drivers are encouraged to minimize distractions, remain aware at all times, and devote their full attention to traveling through this active construction zone. All scheduled work is weather dependent and subject to change without notice. Drivers are encouraged to obtain an E-ZPass transponder free of charge in order to pay a discounted All Electronic Tolling rate at www.ezdrivema.com. For more information, check the Toll Plaza Demolition Project website.


MassDOT Proposed Capital Investment Plan Public Meetings Set

Massachusetts Department of Transportation MassDOT has announced a schedule of 12 public meetings in locations across the state to present and discuss the draft MassDOT Five-Year Capital Investment Plan (CIP) Update. Public input received at the meetings from May 15 to May 24 will be considered before the CIP is finalized. 

MassDOT’s strategic Capital Investment Plan uses state and federal money to fund transportation investments across Massachusetts. These include all MassDOT highway and municipal projects, regional airports, rail and transit projects including the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) and Regional Transit Authorities as well as the MassDOT Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV). Updated annually, the CIP uses a combination of public and stakeholder input with both objective and comparative evaluation of projects to select programs that will be funded over the next five fiscal years. The draft being finalized now concerns Fiscal Years 2018 through 2022.

MassDOT has already received more than 1,100 public comments through its online tool, emails and letters. Many comments have been incorporated into the CIP draft. The public meetings, which begin May 15, seek to increase public input before the final CIP is presented to the MassDOT Board of Directors in June.

The schedule for these meetings is as follows: 

  • Barnstable- Monday, May 15, 6 p.m., Hyannis Transportation Center 
  • Brockton- Monday, May 15, 6:30 p.m., Arnone School Cafeteria 
  • Leominster- Tuesday, May 16, 6:30 p.m., Leominster City Hall 
  • Springfield- Tuesday, May 16, 6:30 p.m., Springfield City Hall 
  • Worcester- Wednesday, May 17, 6:30 p.m., Union Station, 2nd Floor 
  • Lawrence- Thursday, May 18, 6 p.m., Lawrence Public Library, 51 Lawrence Street 
  • Greenfield- Monday, May 22, 5:30 p.m., City Hall Council Chamber, 70 Allen Street 
  • Boston- Monday, May 22, 6:30 p.m., BCYF Leahy-Holloran Community Center, 1 Worrell Street, Dorchester 
  • Lenox- Tuesday, May 23, 6:30 p.m., MassDOT District 1 Headquarters 
  • Salem- Tuesday, May 23, 6:30 p.m., Salem City Hall Annex 
  • Marlborough- Wednesday, May 24, 6:30 p.m., Marlborough Senior Center 
  • Dartmouth- Wednesday, May 24, 6:30 p.m., UMass Dartmouth Law School, Moot Courtroom

MBTA: Strategic Plan Adopted

The MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board (FMCB) approved an MBTA Strategic Plan, a document that fulfills the FMCB requirement in its enabling legislation that required development of such a plan. 

This plan serves as a blueprint for institutionalizing the objectives and strategies needed to ensure continuous improvement for the MBTA. 

The Strategic Plan sets forth the MBTA’s vision, mission, and values statement and creates specific objectives for the MBTA that fall under the following headings: safety, customers, infrastructure, fiscal sustainability, accessibility, workforce, management, environment, governance, and capacity.

“This Plan reflects a year’s worth of effort by the FMCB and managers across the MBTA to build consensus and make progress on the actions that must be taken by the MBTA and its stakeholders to ensure the MBTA becomes a best-in-class transit system that exceeds the expectations of its customers,” said FMCB Chairman Joseph Aiello.

 A key priority within the Strategic Plan is to bring all MBTA assets into a State of Good Repair (SGR) in fifteen years rather than twenty-five as previously projected. In 2015, nearly one-third of the MBTA’s physical assets were not in a state of good repair, with an SGR backlog estimated at $7.3 billion (this amount did not include some components of the Commuter Rail system and other key assets). The Strategic Plan aims to expand capital delivery capacity to achieve a minimum of $1 billion in annual SGR spending within four years and eliminate the backlog in fifteen years, create and effectively manage capital delivery capacity, implement asset management and lifecycle maintenance for all current and future MBTA assets, and address the SGR needs of business processes and information management. 

The Strategic Plan includes several other overarching priorities. The bus system is to be reinvented for better reliability, improved amenities, and a comprehensive redesign of the entire network. Reliable service and affordable fares will be delivered as part of a new Automated Fare Collection system by FY21. “For too long we’ve underinvested in our bus system and its nearly half a million weekday riders. Serving these—often our most transit-dependent and loyal customers—is a top priority of this Board and this Strategic Plan,” said Director Monica Tibbits–Nutt. Operating costs will continue to be driven down and a goal for annual non-fare, own-source revenue has been set to $100 million by FY21. Planning will be completed for fleet, facilities, and service to achieve specific capacity targets, which will be established by the end of 2017. 

More information on the FMCB Strategic Plan can be found at mbta.com.

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