Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority's Termination of Contract for Light Rail Vehicles

PSAD-81-11: Published: Nov 10, 1980. Publicly Released: Nov 10, 1980.

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The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) awarded a contract on May 1, 1973, for the manufacture of 175 light rail vehicles (LRV's) using the standard LRV specification developed by MBTA, and funded and approved by the Urban Mass Transportation Administration (UMTA). The LRV began experiencing problems when placed into a passenger revenue service. When the contract terminated in November 1979, the project had been amended three times. Its total cost amounted to $68.3 million, of which $48.1 million were Federal funds. Although the MBTA contract settlement terms were not submitted to UMTA for approval before final execution of the settlement agreement, UMTA conditionally approved the settlement.

MBTA has an obligation to achieve the original project objectives within the Federal funds committed at the time of the settlement. If MBTA were to request additional Federal funds for the project, such a request would be carefully reviewed in view of the MBTA original obligation. Considering the lack of UMTA involvement in monitoring the project, UMTA cannot be assured that MBTA will be able to achieve the project's approved objectives.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the UMTA Administrator to make sure that, where a UMTA developed and sponsored standard vehicle inspection is initially implemented, the grantees' performance is monitored and reviewed to determine if the specification adequately achieves its objectives.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

  2. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the UMTA Administrator to make sure that UMTA performs a detailed analysis, which lends credibility to its decision, before granting acceptance, conditional or otherwise, to the termination of any third-party contract awarded using Federal funds.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

  3. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the UMTA Administrator to make sure that UMTA reviews the adequacy of the MBTA LRV management and operations for assuring that the delivered LRV's achieve their intended design life. UMTA should identify and require MBTA to implement the necessary improvements.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

  4. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the UMTA Administrator to make sure that MBTA sustantiates the nature, cause, and extent of damage to inoperable LRV's to assure that UMTA does not pay for damages caused by MBTA negligence or other causes which may be covered by insurance.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

  5. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the UMTA Administrator, before granting final approval of the Boeing/MBTA financial settlement, to require UMTA to work with MBTA to establish a realistic schedule to achieve the 175 LRV's project objectives and monitor and provide any needed assistance and oversight to assure that any needed assistance is achieved.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

  6. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the UMTA Administrator, before granting final approval of the Boeing/MBTA financial settlement, to require MBTA to complete the original project objective without additional Federal funding beyond the $48.1 million already approved.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

  7. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the UMTA Administrator to make sure that UMTA involvement policy with its grantees is reevaluated so that it can be assured that approved transit project objectives are being achieved within the allocated Federal funds. When additional funds are requested, UMTA should be in a knowledgeable position to determine if such funds are actually needed and properly justified.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

 

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