Boston’s state senators should get behind MBTA reforms

May 20, 2015 - 1 minute read
The Boston Globe – by The Editorial Board 5/18/15

Considering the importance of mass transit to Boston’s economy, and the wrenching disruptions this winter’s T shutdown caused, one would hope that the city’s elected representatives would be leading the way in advocating for better service. Unfortunately, they’re not. With the state Senate emerging as the key battleground for Governor Charlie Baker’s T overhaul plan, the Boston delegation needs to start speaking up for their constituents.

Baker’s fix — which would couple the freedom to raise fares with increased oversight from a new financial control board for the agency — is, overall, a good one. The bill would also temporarily free the T from the Pacheco law, which limits state agencies’ ability to contract out to the private sector for services, a welcome move that could lead to more efficiencies.

These reforms, however, have so far foundered in the state Senate, where they have met with opposition from the leadership. Some of the concern is legitimate. Several senators have questioned the wisdom of withholding additional funds the transportation authority was promised in 2013. But removing the control board proposal and keeping the MBTA under the Pacheco law, which some in the Senate leadership also favors, would water down the reforms.


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