Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Fiscal Year 2016 Budget Passage Nears Finish Line.

Boston– Tonight, State Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) issued the following statement regarding proposed MBTA reforms contained in the Conference Committee Report on the Fiscal Year 2016 State Budget. House and Senate negotiators filed that report at approximately 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday night, and it is anticipated to be the subject of formal House and Senate sessions and voted on Wednesday: The Fiscal Year 2016 annual budget produced by the Conference Committee contains two powerful tools to confront the chronic and deeply troubling problems ongoing at the MBTA, and they have been wisely included in this $38.1 billion spending plan. When the FY2016 budget left the Senate, it contained a strong Fiscal and Management Control Board that was initiated by the Senate Republican Caucus and was ultimately the product of strong bi-partisan collaboration and support. Today, that control board is effectively included in the compromise reached by House and Senate negotiators. In addition, the targeted relief from an anti-privatization law that has obstructed savings and reform is a significant element of the budget that awaits final action by the House and Senate. Through this limited but meaningful change, a major opportunity would be created to capitalize on opportunities to boost efficiency and reinvest dollars saved into service improvement. These major steps, if approved, will go a long way to preventing the types of commuter hardships we saw this past winter at the transit system that is vital to commuters and our economy. ###