Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Senate GOP Caucus Supports Bipartisan Control Board Plan to Address MBTA Crisis

Senator Gale D. Candaras (D–Wilbraham), Senate Minority Leader Bruce E. Tarr (R–Gloucester), Senator James Welch (D–West Springfield), Assistant Senate Minority Leader Robert Hedlund (R-Weymouth) and Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Ross (R-Wrentham) held a press conference at the State House this morning to announce the filing of an amendment to the MBTA bailout bill that would establish an MBTA Control Board.

The proposed Control Board, similar to the successful model used in Springfield in 2004, would be charged with crafting and implementing a plan for long term stability at the MBTA, while providing quality, affordable transit service.

“Everyone agrees that quality, affordable mass transit is essential to Massachusetts,” Candaras said. “In order to meet that goal, we need a team at the MBTA that is able to put the T on a sustainable path; another no-strings-attached bailout does not solve the problem.”

“We cannot continue to contribute large amounts of money to get the MBTA from one funding crisis to the next. Taxpayers, ratepayers and people who depend on public transportation need us to put the authority on a path to sustainability and efficiency as soon as possible, and through an effective method such as a control board,” said Senator Tarr.

“A healthy transit system is important to the continued growth and success of the Commonwealth,” said Senator Welch. “We need to ensure tax dollars are being used efficiently and effectively to create a long-term solution for the MBTA.”

The amendment provides a $51M loan to the MBTA to address immediate funding needs with the funds to be repaid in full by June 30, 2020. Additionally, the amendment would:

• Provide the Control Board with all the powers and authority granted to the MBTA Board of Directors and Advisory Board as well as grant additional authorities, including the ability to amend budgets, revise policy, create or eliminate positions, adjust fees, services, and rates

• Establish a Control Board liaison to the Office of the Attorney General

• Mandate the Control Board develop a long term sustainability plan for the MBTA