July 2, 2020 (BOSTON, MA) – Conservation Law Foundation (CLF), MASSPIRG, and Transportation for Massachusetts released the following statements today as Governor Baker signed a bill extending the term of the MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board (FMCB) for one year. The board was created five years ago to oversee the T’s budget and operations and was set to expire June 30.
“The FMCB took on a monumental challenge and helped stabilize the T during a time of crisis,” said Staci Rubin, Senior Attorney at CLF. “Now was simply not the time to let the T board dissolve, and the legislature clearly recognized that fact. A one-year extension is a good interim step, and we look forward to working with the legislature to implement a permanent T successor board that includes riders and is empowered to create a world-class transportation system for the region.”
In the coming months, we anticipate that Governor Baker will have the opportunity to appoint one or more new FMCB members. Governor Baker must fill the current — and any future — vacancies with members who are routine MBTA riders and understand the important role that transit plays in supporting the Massachusetts economy, serving marginalized communities, and improving public health.
“Thank you to legislators and Governor Baker for continuing the FMCB,” said MASSPIRG Transform Transportation Campaign Director Matt Casale. “The MBTA has critical issues on its plate, from bus, rapid transit, and rail transformation, to implementation of new fare systems, and can’t lose momentum. Right now, continuity and rider representation is important.”
“We are glad to see the FMCB continue its governance of the T for another year. Governor Baker has some choices to make about the FMCB’s composition, and he should prioritize appointing people who represent the riders who rely on the system each day,” said Chris Dempsey, Director of the statewide Transportation for Massachusetts coalition.
Earlier this year, the groups and MBTA Advisory Board released a report detailing recommendations for the future governance of the MBTA. The suggestions included a focus on future planning, geographically diverse board members who routinely ride the MBTA and are compensated for their time, FMCB oversight over the MBTA general manager, and independence from the MassDOT board.
Experts are available for further comment.