||MBTA Right-of-Way Leasing Program
||Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA)
||Daniel Breen, Chief Engineer
Mass. Bay Transportation Authority
10 Park Plaza
Boston, MA 02116
||Completed, on time and within budget.
||Leasing of MBTA Rights-of-Way to telecommunications companies for placement of fiber optic cables.
The MBTA had been approached by long distance carrier companies interested in leasing their rights-of-way for the placement of fiber optic cables to interconnect their networks.|
To assess market potential, an extensive study was performed which concluded that much opportunity existed for the MBTA. Research was conducted on the financial, technical and legal aspects of leasing the rights-of-way. Railroads and transit agencies which had undertaken similar efforts were interviewed and information gathered on rate structures and leasing/licensing rights-of-way throughout the country.
A working committee was established with all interested and affected departments to determine feasibility, assess the potential for right-of-way development, and establish policy and procedure should a decision be made to proceed. The engineering concerns of the transit and commuter rail operators were addressed, with different practices and policies adopted for each system.
Recommendations were presented and adopted on an Authority-wide basis which streamlined the internal process required for leasing.
A tiered approach was established which provided for much flexibility in negotiating for the rights-of-way on a case-by-case, non-exclusive basis.
Within the central city subway a "condominium" approach was adopted in which one vendor was selected through competitive negotiations to build a shared conduit system (few ducts were available) in exchange for reduced leasing rates and the provision to the MBTA of an extensive fiber cable system in parallel to the vendors network.
Subsequent licensees have provided substantial revenue, cable systems and services to the MBTA. Agreements reached in 1991 have resulted in total revenues exceeding $1 million annually.