Governor Baker Announces New Appointments to Mass DOT Board
BOSTON – Today, Governor Charlie Baker announced five new appointments to the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. The board, which includes Secretary Stephanie Pollack, currently oversees all MassDOT operations including the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), Highway, Mass Transit, Aeronautics, the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV), Office of Planning and Programming and the Office of Performance Management and Innovation.
“These experts bring tested experience and knowledge in their respective fields and represent the fresh start needed to lead the Commonwealth’s transportation initiatives,” said Governor Baker. “From the Registry to our highways, this group is tasked with enormous responsibility. The MBTA panel uncovered monumental challenges in the aftermath of this harsh winter, and I look forward to this new board expanding and working alongside our proposed Fiscal Management and Control Board as we strive to do better than the status quo with our transit systems which left riders stranded and tax dollars squandered.”
After a harsh winter that impaired the MBTA and disrupted public transportation for commuters, Governor Baker appointed a special panel of transportation leaders to take a deep dive into the structural problems with the T and deliver recommendations for short and long term plans to improve our transit system.
The panel recommended appointing a new Mass DOT board, expanding it to include 11 members, and establishing a Fiscal Management and Control Board (FMCB) along with a Chief Administrator to oversee operations and finances through 2018, create capital plans, introduce reporting and audit requirements and lift procurement restrictions for the MBTA. In late April, Governor Baker filed An Act for a Reliable, Sustainable MBTA, acting on many of the recommendations made by the special panel. Following the panel’s findings, the Governor also requested and received the resignation for all Mass DOT board members, excluding Pollack.
The Mass DOT board is comprised of seven members who are all appointed by the Governor with one designated as the chair. Each member is required to fulfill a specific criteria with expertise in transportation, finance and engineering. The Secretary of Transportation also serves on the board. The Mass DOT board serves as the governing authority for both the Mass DOT and the MBTA and oversees the following: Highway, Mass Transit, Aeronautics, RMV, the Office of Planning and Programming and the Office of Performance Management and Innovation.
About the Mass DOT Board Members:
Dominic Blue is the Vice President and Assistant General Counsel at Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company and a previous member of the Mass DOT board. Prior to his current position, Blue gained nine years of legal experience at two firms in Boston where he represented and advised numerous companies, funds, and government organizations. He has been involved in his community through leadership roles on associations and boards in the Commonwealth, most recently as a board member of the Greater Springfield YMCA. Blue received his M.B.A. and J.D. from Boston College in 2002.
Ruth Bonsignore has over 30 years of professional consulting experience in transportation planning and design, systems analyses and operations, and policy for federal, state and regional public agencies and private sector clients throughout the east coast. Ruth earned her B.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from University of Massachusetts and her Master’s in Transportation from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Most recently, Ms. Bonsignore served as Senior Vice President and Transportation Practice Area Leader at the Massachusetts-based consulting firm VHB/Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc.
Brian Lang currently serves as President of UNITE HERE Local 26, Boston’s hotel and food service union. Lang has spent a total of seventeen years representing the union’s 7,000 members, starting as organizing director and eventually being elected as president in 2011. Before joining the UNITE HERE Local 26 team, Lang was already involved as a community organizer for SEIU Local 285. His previous work experience as a meatpacker and a bellman has given Lang a strong understanding for the needs of hotel and food service employees that he uses to advocate for workers’ rights.
Steve Poftak is executive director of the Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston at Harvard Kennedy School. Poftak was Director of Research and Director of the Center for Better Government at the Pioneer Institute for Public Policy Research. He has led research projects and authored a number of papers on transportation policy, government efficiency, municipal finance, and job creation. Previously, Poftak worked at the Commonwealth's Executive Office for Administration and Finance, where he managed the $1.3 billion capital budget, prepared the state's quarterly cash flow reporting, and monitored non-tax revenue receipts.
Betsy Taylor is the former Director of Finance and Treasury at Massachusetts Port Authority, where she played a critical role in budgeting, financial planning, treasury management, and project financing for over 35 years. Taylor established the Massport Treasury Department, prepared major authority-wide financing strategy, and led Massport’s re-entrance to the bond market. She previously worked in budget management and administration at University of Massachusetts, Smith College, and Lesley College. Taylor earned her BA graduating cum laude from Oberlin College, and her MBA from Stanford University.