MBTA secures $851 million RRIF loan for train control project

July 22, 2020
The RRIF loan will help the MBTA finish PTC installation, as well as ATC installation.

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) has secured a $851.15-million Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (RRIF) Program loan through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Build America Bureau.  

The RRIF loan will be used toward MBTA’s Train Control Implementation and Rehabilitation Project, which will see the completion of the commuter rail network’s positive train control (PTC) implementation project, installation of an Automatic Train Control (ATC) system and expansion of the authority’s buried fiber optic cable network to cover the entire MBTA commuter rail signaling system to enhance its resiliency.

“This federal investment of $851.15 million will enhance safety on one of the busiest commuter railroads in the country,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

Financial close of the RRIF loan for MBTA’s train control project is contingent upon the project meeting all federal statutory, regulatory and policy requirements.  

This is the second RRIF loan for MBTA, which finalized $382 million in federal loans through the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) and the RRIF Program in 2017 for its PTC installation project.

MBTA’s PTC system has completed the installation phase and is in what the authority calls the calibration phase as it fine tunes its system ahead of the scheduled implementation deadline of December 2020. According to information on the Federal Railroad Administration’s PTC Dashboard, MBTA has more than 84 percent of its required miles under PTC operation and has achieved interoperability with two of the three required railroads.

Using average weekday travel as a basis, MBTA’s commuter rail network is the fourth busiest in the U.S., with lines extending as far south as Providence, Rhode Island, north to Newburyport, Mass., and west to Worcester and Fitchburg, Mass.  

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About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Group Editorial Director

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine and group editorial director of the Infrastructure and Aviation Group at Endeavor Business Media. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the editorial direction of the group and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.