Gov. Charlie Baker filed legislation that he hopes will revamp the management of the T Wednesday.
His proposal, titled An Act for Reliable, Sustainable MBTA, is largely based on the many recommendations put forth by a special panel set up after the state’s public transit system suffered consistent and significant delays during this winter’s historic snowfall.
The legislation calls for a new, five member “fiscal control board” to oversee the MBTA. That new board would have the power to restructure the organization of the MBTA and install performance management metrics while altering existing procurement requirements, according to a statement from the governor’s office.
According to the special panel’s review of the MBTA, the agency has failed to spend the capital funds is has available. Baker has said the MBTA has left “$2 billion in the drawer the last five years.”
Following the T’s dismal winter performance and the damning review of the agency’s systemic problems, Baker requested the entire Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) board, which currently oversees the MBTA, to resign. Earlier this week, he got his wish: all six board members agreed to step down.
Now, Baker’s proposal would reconstitute the MassDOT board and immediately develop one- and five-year operating budgets and clearly separate the operating and capital ivestment budgets.
The MBTA Retirement Fund would be frozen for payouts to new hires until an independent audit is completed within 180 days.
“The T failed its stress test this winter when we needed it most, exposing the deep operational problems and lack of planning,” said Baker in a statement. “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.”