- THE MAGAZINE
The Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) voted to approve a Business Plan and Budget for Fiscal Year 2015 of $623 million, a 5 percent increase, or $31 million more than the previous year. The plan will fund Massport’s commitment to key areas such as safety and security, supporting neighboring community programming, improving the customer experience at all Massport facilities, and continuing to attract new international and domestic service to propel the region’s economic growth.
As part of the efforts to support community initiatives in surrounding neighborhoods, Massport will invest $25.5 million, an increase of 5.5 percent. Included are more than $3 million for the Greenway and existing parks, an increase in the lieu of tax payments to both Boston and Winthrop, bringing the PILOT total to more than $19 million, and $1.75 million in summer job opportunities for youth, education scholarships, after-school programs and other community giving. The largest capital expenditure is for the new Thomas J. Butler Freight Corridor, which will remove Conley Container traffic from residential areas in South Boston, and when completed will have cost $70 million.
“Logan is the nation’s 19th busiest airport and is expected to reach a record high 31 million passengers this year and Worcester Regional Airport is expected to reach more than 120,000 passengers,’’ said Massport CEO Thomas P. Glynn. “This budget reflects key investments into our infrastructure that help grow the region’s economy while continuing to improve our customers’ experience.’’
The FY ‘15 budget allows the Authority to maintain an AA bond rating while addressing both short-term and long-term needs across all areas. Worcester Airport’s budget will increase by 11.4 percent to support the expected 85 percent more passengers next year.
At the board meeting, the board voted to approve a $20 million capital improvement spending on the Framingham Logan Express parking lot site. The site, located on Shopper’s World Drive, will consolidate all parking into a new 1,100-space parking garage and provide a new modern 6,000-square-foot terminal building.
In addition, Massport is investing $35.4 million in operating and supporting HOV options, including the Logan Express bus network, the airport shuttle system which, with the opening of the Rental Car Center, reduced the on airport bus traffic from about 100 trips per hour to 30. Other key HOV programs include the free Silver Line and the new Back Bay Logan Express bus that helps maintain Logan’s national-leading position in HOV use for the two years while the Government Center T station is renovated. The budget for HOV increased 5.2 percent.
Safety and security remain the top priority of Massport and the Authority will spend more than $73 million in personnel, technology, training and inspections to help ensure the safety of those who use and work at our facilities. A few key examples include the expansion of Security and Fire Rescue at all airports, new technology for Aviation Security, a new Fire and Rescue building at Worcester Airport and the purchase of three new fire engines. The board also voted to spend $5 million to replace the EMAS (Engineered Material Arresting System) at the end of Runway 4L-22R. First implemented in 2005, the materials used – ultra light concrete blocks that pulverize when an airline runs over them, helping to slow it down - have become costly to maintain and therefore it was decided to replace the entire system.
Boston Logan, 15 minutes from the intersection of Route 128 and I-90 and five minutes from downtown Boston, serves as the gateway to the New England region and offers nonstop service to 76 domestic and 39 international destinations and in 2013 handled 30.2 million passengers. Boston Logan is served by two public transit lines and is the Air Line Pilot Association’s Airport of the Year for 2008 because of its commitment to safety. Over the past decade, the airport spent $4.5 billion on a modernization program that includes new terminals, public transportation access, parking facilities, roadways and airport concessions, and has been transformed into a world-class 21st Century facility. The airport generates $7 billion in total economic impact each year.