What They're Saying: Time to Give "Proactive" Baker the "Tools he Needs" for MBTA Fix

BOSTON -- Opinion leaders and even Democratic Senators are breaking from the Senate leadership's ill-advised attempt to stand in the way of Governor Baker's bill to reform the MBTA and give the Commonwealth the transit system it deserves.

"As Democratic leadership in the Senate stands in the way of progress, a broad consensus is emerging that it's time to break from the status quo and back Governor Baker's bill to reform the MBTA," said MassGOP Chairman Kirsten Hughes. "Even Democratic Senators are starting to realize that their leadership's ill-fated effort to cling to the status quo is wrong for Massachusetts. Senate Democrats need to stand with the riding public and back Governor Baker's bill."

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."

Democratic Senator Will Brownsberger: Give Baker "as much as we can of what he has asked for"

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."

Nelson Benton, Salem News: "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."

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."