Legislature’s Transportation Bill A Step in the Wrong Direction

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.

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