Report: State transportation finance problems could be worsened by climate change, electric cars





Passengers stuck on the Red Line this morning, take note.

The state’s roads and bridges and the MBTA continue to have problems, despite efforts in recent years to fund fixes for them, according to a new report on the financing of the state’s transportation system.

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At the same time, the report warns of “emerging challenges” that the state has to be vigilant about: the effect of climate change, which will cost money, and the rise of ride-hailing and the electric car, which could deprive the state of revenues it gets from gas-fueled cars.

The report, issued by the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, a business-backed government watchdog group, said the conditions of roads and bridges “remain problematic.”

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It also said the MBTA failed in recent years to control operating costs, which has “detrimentally impacted all aspects of the system.”

Those challenges, while serious, are not new, the report said.

Looking to the future, the report said, “Climate change has emerged as one of the most pressing problems as both a long-term trend and a short-term shock. The state must contend with the impact of more frequent and more severe heat waves, storm surges, floods, heavy rainfall events, sea rises, and their impact on roads, rails, power, signals, tunnels, culverts and more.”

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The report warned of pavement softened by high temperatures more susceptible to rutting and potholes, rail tracks expanding and buckling in the heat, culverts and roads washed out by heavy rains, and subway tunnels inundated by rising sea levels and storm surges.

If climate change is not incorporated into planning, the state risks “exposing our transportation systems to potentially catastrophic damage or investing in obsolete…

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