Wednesday, February 25, 2015

An Interesting Editorial

Today the Gloucester Daily Times published an editorial highlighting a bill that I and the Senate Republican Caucus filed that would provide key tools to assist the beleaguered MBTA and commuter rail system.  The bipartisan and bicameral bill offered by the caucus would create a fiscal recovery trust fund which would be funded by a $25 million loan to meet immediate capital needs, require the Secretary of Administration and Finance to identify funds to assist the MBTA, and would create a new seven member MBTA finance control board that could ultimately be dissolved in favor of a receiver that would take over the board’s responsibilities as a last resort if sufficient progress hadn’t been made.

The responsibilities of the MBTA finance control board include:

             Securing financial and performance stability of the MBTA

             Implementing fiscal controls;

             Implementing uniform budget and planning guidelines and procedures for all departments;

             Levying fines on vendors who fail to maintain on-time rates, vehicle cleanliness, fare collections, station maintenance, and staff training;

             Executing capital budgets and borrowing authorizations to finance or refinance any debt;

             Maintaining authority to appoint, remove, supervise, and control all MBTA employees and personnel matters;

             Developing a long range plan for MBTA financial and structural sustainability; and

             Requiring the filing of a quarterly report to the House and Senate Committees on Ways and Means detailing how any expended loan funds were used in the past quarter.

The Gloucester Daily Times also mentions that the reform process needs to be “fast tracked”, and given the importance Cape Ann, the North Shore, and Greater Boston has on the public transportation system, I agree.

To read today’s editorial, please click here to visit the newspaper’s website.