"If nothing changes, then nothing will change." That's how Governor Charlie Baker describes his fear for what will happen if the critical reforms he's proposed -- a financial control board, increased flexibility, and more -- aren't made to the MBTA.
The Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance has joined with the Pioneer Institute and other groups in calling for the MBTA to be placed into temporary receivership and its board to be eliminated in order to fix the massive financial and operational problems that currently plague the organization.
As Paul Craney, our executive director, put it, "It has now become clear that the MBTA's practices and priorities have long been badly misguided, all while derailing the public’s trust in the agency, and nothing short of drastic measures seems likely to change them. Receivership and eliminating the MBTA’s board should be part of the conversation, not just increasing the funding for the embattled agency."
Receivership was one of many proposed solutions offered by the Pioneer Institute. As noted in the group's report, other crucial steps include a halt to expansion while maintenance backlogs are prioritized, reducing non-essential expenses such as conference travel, and limiting expansions in the number of employees and their salaries. On that last point, media reports have indicated that the MBTA has consistently increased the size of its workforce in recent years, and that the number of employees earning over $100,000 each year has soared.
However, the powerful unions that represent the MBTA workers and their interests are working diligently behind the scenes to derail Governor Baker's proposals. Now is the opportunity to enact real reform, with members of both parties coming together to solve these significant problems and a plan on the table. Even prominent Democrats, such as Speaker Robert DeLeo, have agreed with Governor Baker that these changes must be made. But as the Boston Globe has written, many, including some leaders of the state Senate, don't think significant changes are warranted.
To help ensure that Governor Baker's proposals receive the support they deserve, let us know that you agree by signing our petition, then contact your representative and senator today and ask them to vote in favor of real reform, specifically supporting the Governor's legislation to fix the T.
And if you want to help us continue fighting for more transparency and accountability on Beacon Hill, please chip in and donate here.