BOSTON — Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker filed new MBTA reform legislation Wednesday, acting on many of the recommendations made by the special panel that reported their findings earlier this month. The legislation, An Act for a Reliable, Sustainable MBTA, would establish a Fiscal Management and Control Board (FMCB) and Chief Administrator to oversee operations and finances through 2018, create capital plans, introduce reporting and audit requirements and lift procurement restrictions for the MBTA. Together the FMCB and Chief Administrator would be charged with establishing a safe, reliable, financially sound and sustainable customer-oriented public transit system.
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“This bill directly responds to the special panel's recommendations. We look forward to the Legislature's swift action on the reforms necessary to restore the public’s faith in the Commonwealth’s transit system,” said Governor Baker. “The T failed its stress test this winter when we needed it most, exposing the deep operational problems and lack of planning. We simply cannot afford a repeat and this legislation sets in motion significant reforms to once again deliver accountability, reliability and the world-class transportation system Massachusetts deserves.”
“The special panel concluded that a strong fiscal and management control board is vital to solving the MBTA’s chronic and pervasive failures,” said Secretary Pollack. “The legislation would give the MBTA many new tools that are essential if we are to succeed in transforming the MBTA organizationally and rebuilding and modernizing its assets.”
“At the MBTA we are already hard at work implementing the Special Review Panel’s recommendations, but this legislation and the fiscal and management control board that it creates are essential to ensuring that we can correct longstanding problems at the T so that it can provide the reliable transit services that our riders want and deserve,” said Frank DePaola, interim executive director of the MBTA.
More about An Act for a Reliable, Sustainable MBTA:
Effective Oversight and Management: A Fiscal Management Control Board (FMCB) will function as the board of the MBTA, consisting of 5 members, 3 appointed by the Governor, and 1 each referred to the Governor by the Senate President and Speaker of the House, through June 30, 2018. The daily operational, budgeting and planning duties would lie with a Chief Administrator appointed by the Governor.
Reconstitute the MassDOT Board: Chaired by the Secretary of Transportation, the MassDOT Board will consist of 11 members, eight serving four-year terms coterminous with the Governor, and three serving three-year terms. Members will include a representative from an MBTA core community, an outer MBTA community and a city or town served by a regional transit authority.
Financial Accountability and Transparency: The FMCB will immediately develop one and five year operating budgets with a focus on improving productivity and increasing revenues. A clear separation of the operating and capital budgets will be implemented and improved procurement practices will move the MBTA to assuring that its capital funds are timely and well spent. The MBTA Retirement Fund would be frozen for payouts to new hires until an independent audit is completed within 180 days and would be subjected to annual audits and public record law.
Operations, Personnel and Contracting: The FMCB will have the ability to restructure the organization of the MBTA and install rigorous performance management metrics while altering existing procurement requirements and lifting the Pacheco Law’s application to the MBTA.