Governor Baker wants to reform the MBTA. Let’s see some of those plans:
In an attempt to overhaul the embattled Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, Governor Charlie Baker on Wednesday proposed the creation of a board he would appoint to take control of the finances and operations of the agency.
The new fiscal and management control board would oversee the T for three to five years, taking power away from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation board, under the legislation filed by the administration Wednesday.
Add more administration, check.
The bill would also open the door to fare increases by eliminating the cap on how high and how often the T can raise its fares. No immediate fare increases are contemplated, however.
Increase the price, but not yet–don’t want people to get too mad. Wait a bit and let somebody else be the face of the increase, courage!
In his legislation, Baker also proposed the elimination of promised additional funding that was outlined for state transportation system, including the T, in a 2013 transportation finance bill. Over the next five fiscal years, the transportation system would have received an additional $500 million under the law.
Cut funding to the T, check.
Baker also proposed substantial changes to the Transportation Department board, which would still oversee department business. The administration hopes to expand the department board from seven to 11 members, with eight serving four-year terms at the same time as the governor.
Hey, even more new administration.
The proposal is sure to stoke opposition from the agency’s unions. Baker took aim at the MBTA’s pensions, proposing an independent audit of the retirement fund within 180 days of the law going into effect. The legislation would stop retirement payments to the fund for new hires until the audit is completed.
The bill also asks the Legislature to change the agency’s binding arbitration system for labor contracts, which critics have seen as a drain to the T’s finances. Under the legislation, the fiscal control board would need to approve an arbitrator’s award in a labor dispute.
Cut pay and benefits, check.
In addition, Baker wants to free the agency of the Pacheco law, an antiprivatization law that makes it difficult for the T to contract out major services.
Prepare to privatize as much as possible, check.
Yup, this is a Republican governor all right.