Democrats Splinter As Baker's Plan to Fix the T Gains Steam

BOSTON -- Governor Charlie Baker has introduced a plan to deliver a reliable and accountable MBTA that delivers for the people of the Commonwealth. Leaders in both parties are ready to support the Governor's plan.

Governor Baker has strong approval ratings, and wants to deliver for the riding public. As Democrats in the Senate dig in with their union and special-interest allies, they are sending a message that they do not care about the riding public. Every day, responsible leaders from both parties, as well as opinion leaders, back Baker's plan to #FixTheT

Click here to sign the MassGOP's petition and send a message that Governor Baker's reforms are the right path for the MBTA.


Democrats and Independent Analysts Blast The Senate's Anti-Reform Efforts:

Scot Lehigh, Boston Globe: Senate Dems "Far Too Indulgent Of The Status Quo"

"Governor Baker wants a fiscal control board, the end of binding arbitration, and freedom from the Pacheco Law, which makes it difficult to extend service or save money by contracting out for services and repairs.
"The Senate, however, is somewhere between reluctant and retrenched.
"It’s disappointing to hear a policy maker as smart as Rosenberg take refuge in well-worn pro-Pacheco talking points, even while conceding that he’s not familiar enough with the matter to discuss the millions saved when the T managed to sidestep Pacheco and outsource a bus-fleet overhaul."


Shirley Leung, Boston Globe: Dems' Resistance to Fiscal Management Board "All About Control"

"Now, both the House speaker, Bob DeLeo, and the Senate president, Stan Rosenberg, wonder what kind of authority the board really has.

"Translation: Lawmakers are worried the board would get special powers to curb the antiprivatization law, limit binding arbitration provisions, and lift the cap on fares."


Boston Globe: "Boston’s elected representatives should put T riders in their districts first"

"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.
Better yet, Boston’s elected representatives should put T riders in their districts first by getting behind important reforms to an agency the city depends on."


Democrat State Senator Will Brownsberger Breaks with Senate Leadership and Backs the Baker Plan. 

On the Pacheco Law Exemption: "I support the limited exemption that the Governor seeks for the MBTA."

On the Fiscal Control Board: "While I had initial doubts, I think it makes good management sense to create a focused and visible oversight board for the MBTA and I will support the Governor’s recommendation to do so."

On Baker's Leadership: "But, when a political leader of any party has the courage to accept responsibility for a highly visible public problem, we should generally give that leader the tools he or she seeks to ensure success."


Boston Mayor Marty Walsh: Final Package Will Include Fiscal Control Board

"I think what can happen is - there's a process at the State House....I'm assuming at some point, there will be some type of fiscal management structure inside the legislation - he'll get some type of fiscal structure."


Salem News: "Legislature, Unions No Partners in MBTA Reform"

"When it comes to pitting the wants of the unions against the needs of the state’s taxpaying commuters, you don’t need a program to tell you which side lawmakers are on."


Boston Herald: Big stall in the Senate

"The Senate, on the other hand, took only a weak swing at T reforms in its budget — and missed."


Patriot Ledger Blasts Rosenberg's Call For More Hearings Without Action:

"If members didn’t hear residents’ cries blasted across every media outlet this winter when system-wide failures shut down T lines for days on end, if legislators aren’t aware that their constituents were evacuated by fire departments when trains became stuck on tracks or commuters were abandoned at stations with no way to get home or to work, or that day after frigid day, people waited hours on platforms and in the streets for trains and buses that only sometimes ran, then hearings won’t help." 

Nelson Benton: "Voters haven't forgotten T woes"

"Voters should watch carefully to see how their state representatives and senators land on the issue of MBTA reform this spring.
"The Democratic leadership in the Senate has already made it clear it would prefer to take direction from the Carmen’s Union than the popularly elected governor of the commonwealth, who has proposed a series of change in the T’s management with an eye toward improving service and reducing fixed costs.
"They may believe the path to victory lies in toeing the union line. But there was another North Shore politician similarly beholden to the unions who held the same view. His name was John Tierney." 


Gov. Baker's Plan Picks Up Steam Across The Commonwealth:

Lowell Sun: "Give Baker the tools to overhaul MBTA"

"Everyone agrees the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority -- better known as the MBTA -- is a financial and functional train wreck, as witnessed by its abysmal performance last winter.
"So let's give Baker the tools he needs to give the MBTA that overdue overhaul." 

Bill Fine, WCVB: "MBTA Needs Reform Now"

"Governor Baker is to be commended for taking a pro-active and personal approach to the issue. The governor spent real political capital early in his first term by reshaping the T's board, an important step toward improving transparency and accountability."


David Begelfer, NAIOP Massachusetts:

"'If we don’t make the grand fix, if we put it off again with a Band-Aid, we probably will not get another chance,' said David Begelfer, chief executive of the state’s main commercial real estate development group, NAIOP Massachusetts, which supports Baker’s bill. 'The stars are aligned right now.'"


Peter Lucas: "Baker's taking on MBTA a profile in courage"

"If nothing else, Baker has shown strong leadership in the short time he has become governor, and his decision to take on the MBTA and reshape it into a reliable mass-transportation system that the public can depend on is promising."