State Senators: Put MBTA Control in Hands of Outsiders
Three state senators want to create a control board for the MBTA.
Three state senators want the authority of the MBTA to rest in a control board made up mostly of individuals who do not live within the transit system's reach.
State Senators Bruce Tarr, R-Gloucester, Gale Candaras, D-Wilbraham and James Welch, D-West Springfield, want to amend legislation aimed at resolving the T's financing woes to include a control board, according to a joint press release.
The board would consist of the Secretary of Transportation, the Chairman of the MBTA's Board, and three individuals who do not reside within the MBTA service area appointed by the state's finance secretary, the release said. The board would have all the authority of the MBTA's board and advisory board, and would have the ability to amend budgets, revise policy, create or eliminate positions, adjust fees, services, and rates, the press release said.
In a written statement, Tarr, the Senate's minority leader, said a control board would lead to sustainable financial stability for the MBTA.
“We cannot continue to contribute large amounts of money to get the MBTA from one funding crisis to the next," Tarr said. "Taxpayers, ratepayers and people who depend on public transportation need us to put the authority on a path to sustainability and efficiency as soon as possible, and through an effective method such as a control board."
The proposed amendment also calls for a $51 million loan for the MBTA to address its funding shortfall that would have to be repayed by 2020.
“Everyone agrees that quality, affordable mass transit is essential to Massachusetts,” Candaras said in a written statement. “In order to meet that goal, we need a team at the MBTA that is able to put the T on a sustainable path; another no-strings-attached bailout does not solve the problem.”
The MBTA made service cuts and fare hikes earlier this year to help resolve funding woes. The service reductions and fare increases aren't enough to solve the shortfall -- previously estimated at $161 million for 2013 -- and the MBTA is depending on about $61 million in one-time revenue from the state.
The proposal from the three Senators is expected to be considered this week.