Watered-down reforms won’t fix the MBTA
The Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance, a non-profit, non-partisan organization that advocates for fiscal responsibility and good government solutions on Beacon Hill, expressed disappointment today that the legislature’s Joint Committee on Transportation has reported a draft bill that fails to address many of the most significant proposals for MBTA reform.
“While Governor Baker has offered a bold plan of real reform for the MBTA, the path that the Legislature has chosen to take will only lead to more winters of misery for commuters and lost economic opportunities for the Commonwealth,” said Paul Craney, Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance’s executive director.
Published reports indicate that the bill, the text of which was not posted as of noon on Tuesday, did not include numerous key provisions of Governor Baker’s reform efforts, such as provisions that would allow the MBTA to contract out for more efficient services, bring contract negotiations more into line with standard methods elsewhere in government, and create a fiscal control board reporting directly to the governor.
“Lawmakers would be ill-advised to expect T riders and taxpayers to be satisfied with half-measures. With a new governor at the helm, voters expect the legislature to support the Baker Administration’s vision for how to improve our state. Instead, legislators are hanging on to decades-old ideas like the Pacheco Law, and buckling to union threats against the MBTA’s federal funding. Indeed, they’ve come across closer to a sideshow of carnival barkers than to real leadership – and that may be too harsh towards carnival barkers,” Craney concluded.
The Governor's comprehensive MBTA restructuring, built on a broad bi-partisan foundation, wins support from an overwhelming 80% of people polled across the state. Still, some Beacon Hill bigwigs are blocking its most important reforms.
Here's how you can help.
Please CALL Senator Marc Pacheco and Senator Thomas McGee TODAY and urge them to support Gov. Baker’s MBTA reforms. Senators Pacheco and McGee are leading the charge against releasing the T from the complex and bureaucratic Pacheco law, a law which is nationally unparalleled in its ability to confound management improvements.
Lawmakers must stand with Governor Baker this summer, or we'll all stand in the snow next winter.
Their contact information is below:
Senator Marc Pacheco: 617-722-1551
Senator Thomas McGee: 617-722-1350
Backing is particularly strong in districts represented by plan opponents McGee, Pacheco
In another poll conducted late last week, Massachusetts voters continued to indicate that large majorities support Governor Charlie Baker’s plan to reform the MBTA. All in all, 83% of those surveyed said they are behind Baker; only 17% opposed his approach.
The poll was commissioned by the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance, a non-profit, non-partisan organization that advocates for fiscal responsibility and good government solutions on Beacon Hill.
“The results remain clear. We’re glad that the Senate has taken the positive first step of authorizing a control board, but more must be done,” said Paul Craney, executive director of Mass Fiscal Alliance. “We hope every senator will listen to their constituents and advocate for robust reform efforts.”
In addition to the fiscal control board, Baker’s plan includes important measures like auditing the MBTA’s retirement system, and relieving the system of the state’s anti-privatization statute, known as The Pacheco Law.
Of note, support was above the statewide figure in the districts represented by Senator Marc Pacheco of Taunton and Senator Tom McGee of Lynn, both of whom have voiced opposition to the Governor’s proposals. In Sen. Pacheco’s district, 89% of respondents indicated support for Governor Baker’s plans; in Sen. McGee’s district, it was 85%.
In total, the polls included 13,663 high-propensity registered throughout the Commonwealth’s 40 Senate districts. The second round of polling garnered responses from 2,385 voters in the 11 Western Massachusetts, Southeastern Massachusetts, and Cape Cod districts not included in the original survey.