Five resolutions lay out T’s commuter rail vision

The five resolutions the MBTA Board adopted on Nov. 4 not only call for a commuter rail system with more frequent, electric-powered service, but they also focus on additional parking, station connections, and high-level platform boarding.

Although members of the Fiscal and Management Control Board made edits, the resolutions approved unanimously closely reflect the versions drafted by Chairman Joseph Aiello calling for MBTA staff to work toward transforming the current commuter rail system “into a significantly more productive, equitable, and decarbonized enterprise.”

The only major changes to the original proposals were the addition of a fifth resolution calling for a new bus transformation office and clarification that work to develop high-level accessible boarding is consistent with the ongoing Program for Accessible Transportation Investment aiming at a similar goal.

Planned service intervals will not be universal across the system, but the board instructed the MBTA to work toward rapid transit-like conditions with 15- or 20-minute gaps between trains and maximizing return on investment in the next decade with focus on lines that will see the greatest increase in ridership.

The board also “expects that the system of the future will be largely electrified” and urged the Legislature to adopt language in Gov. Charlie Baker’s bond bill reforming the T’s procurement practices, which influence the pace of work.

Based on the approved resolutions, the MBTA over the next three months will develop a rail transformation office and the bus transformation office and, in the short term, work toward electrifying the Providence/Stoughton Line, the Fairmount Line and parts of the Newburyport/Rockport Line from Boston to Lynn.