Governor’s Special Panel Reports on the Problems of the MBTA

In response to the significant service disruptions experienced across the MBTA system during the winter of 2015, Governor Baker convened a special panel to review the management and operations of the MBTA.  The panel met 18 times over the course of six weeks and issued a 50 page report of findings.  Below are the key findings of the panel:

1. Unstable Operating Budget
Due to a severe imbalance between costs and revenues, the MBTA would be insolvent if not for continuing and increasing Commonwealth subsidies.
2. Chronic Capital Underinvestment
While the MBTA will ultimately need additional state funding for capital spending, it has been unable to spend the capital funds already available to it, contributing to chronic underinvestment in fleet and infrastructure.
3. Bottlenecked Project Delivery
The MBTA struggles to get projects of all types out the door.
4. Ineffective Workplace Practices
The MBTA is largely ineffective in managing its work due to weak workplace customs and practices.
5. Shortsighted Expansion Program
MassDOT and the MBTA lack a rigorous, long-range expansion strategy based on a clear-eyed understanding of the physical and financial capacity of the MBTA and the regional transit needs of the future.
6. Organizational Instability
The MBTA has been hobbled by frequent changes of leadership, significant vacancies, looming attrition, and organizational insularity.
7. Lack of Customer Focus
The MBTA is not organized to operate as the customer-oriented business it is.
8. Flawed Contracting Processes
MBTA procurement and contract management is inefficient and decentralized.
9. Lack of Accountability
The Commonwealth provides more than half of the MBTA operating budget and substantial additional funding for capital projects, but the MBTA is not directly accountable to either the Governor or the Legislature.

You can find a full copy of the report here.

Andrew Bettinelli
Legislative Aide
Office of State Senator William N. Brownsberger

2 replies on “Governor’s Special Panel Reports on the Problems of the MBTA”

  1. “… and the oldest fleet of vehicles of any similarly sized transit agency in the U.S.” with some cars dating back to 1969!

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