For Immediate Release - October 30, 2009

MOVING FORWARD WITH LANDMARK TRANSPORTATION REFORM, GOVERNOR PATRICK ANNOUNCES MASSDOT BOARD

Establishes Board Advisory Counsel, Will release MBTA financial analysis next week

BOSTON - Friday, October 30, 2009 - Moving forward with the state's landmark transportation reform law, Governor Deval Patrick today announced the appointment of five transportation and finance experts to the new Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) Board. The Board members will lead the streamlined transportation organization that goes into effect on November 1, 2009. MassDOT will be responsible for maintaining and improving the Commonwealth's network of roads, bridges, tunnels, transit systems and private-use airports.

"These private and public-sector leaders will be responsible for overseeing the historic reforms underway in our state's transportation system," said Governor Patrick. "Working together with Incoming Secretary and CEO Jeffrey Mullan, their charge will be to achieve cost-savings, enhance customer service and improve safety across our transportation networks. I am confident they will get the job done."

On Monday, the Governor will formally swear in John R. Jenkins, Ferdinand Alvaro, Janice Loux, Elizabeth Levin and Andrew Whittle as Board members.

  • John R. Jenkins, a Natick resident, will serve as Chair of the MassDOT Board and was a former Massachusetts Turnpike Authority Board member. He is President of West Insurance Agency, Inc.
  • Professor Andrew Whittle, a geotechnical engineer, currently serves as Department Head of the Massachusetts Institute for Technology's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Whittle is a resident of Boxborough.
  • Elizabeth Levin, a resident of Boston, is President of Liz Levin & Company, a management consulting company that serves the transportation, design and environment community.
  • Ferdinand Alvaro is Partner-in-Charge of the Adorno & Yoss LLP Boston office and Co-Chair of the National Business Law Group. He previously served on the board of directors of the MBTA. Alvaro is a resident of Marblehead.
  • Janice Loux, a resident of Williamstown, is the first female president of UNITE HERE! Local 26, representing more than 6,300 hotel and food service workers in metropolitan Boston and was a member of the board of directors of the MBTA for 12 years under five governors.

The Governor will establish a 20-member Advisory Counsel to the Board. The Counsel will be led by Alan MacDonald, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Business Roundtable, and is designed to ensure the Board receives guidance and input from a broad array of statewide stakeholders. The remaining counsel members will be announced at the Board's first meeting, Monday, November 2 nd, at 2:00 p.m. in the State Transportation Building. In future meetings, the Board will meet in locations throughout the Commonwealth to address regional transportation issues and affirm it represents the entire state. December's Board meeting will be held in Springfield.

Governor Patrick and Incoming Secretary and CEO Jeffrey Mullan also named the following Administrators of MassDOT's four divisions: Luisa Paiewonsky, Highway Division Administrator; William Mitchell, Acting Rail & Transit Administrator; Christopher Willenborg, Aeronautics Division Administrator; and Rachel Kaprielian, Registry of Motor Vehicles Division Administrator.

On Wednesday, November 4 th, the Governor will release a financial analysis of the MBTA conducted by former John Hancock executive David D'Alessandro. Citing concerns about finances, safety and management, Governor Patrick commissioned the top-to-bottom review of the MBTA in August.

REFORM ACHIEVEMENTS TO DATE

As of November 1 st the Patrick-Murray Administration will have eliminated the Turnpike Authority, and integrated 4,000-plus employees and over five overlapping transportation agencies into one unified organization. MassDOT will achieve administrative efficiencies from shared services like email and payroll as well as operational efficiencies like centralized traffic monitoring operations.

"Together, more than 300 employees are directly engaged in this historic reform effort to simplify and streamline our transportation system and make it more accountable and accessible to the people of Massachusetts," said Incoming Secretary and CEO Mullan.

"The challenges we have in transportation took some time to develop and they will take some time to fix," said Secretary of Administration and Finance Jay Gonzalez. "We have taken the critical first step and are on our way. We have laid the foundation for real reform that will bring more change in the coming weeks, months and years."

More than 12 integration teams and 90 employee subcommittees are working collectively on transition and implementation of integration plans. In September, the Patrick-Murray Administration merged traffic operations and monitoring from MassHighway, the Turnpike and the Tobin Bridge into one central location. This means that for the first time ever, one group of people in one location can monitor the state's bridges, tunnels and surface roadway systems allowing for quicker responses to incidents that occur.

MASSDOT TRANSITION AND PRIORITIES

"Going forward we will operate as one transportation agency with one mission: provide a safe, reliable and efficient transportation network for citizens of the Commonwealth," said Mullan. "Operating as one means breaking down the silos that exist in transportation and focusing instead on customer service and customer safety."

The immediate operational focus of the new MassDOT will be on ensuring a coordinated, strong response during the snow and ice season. The next step in implementing reform will be to resolve the issues of job classification and salary.

"Our goal is to come up with a solution that achieves real cost savings and treats all our employees fairly," said Mullan.

CHANGES FOR CUSTOMERS

On November 1 st, the most prominent change residents will notice is the launch of a new MassDOT website, www.mass.gov/massdot, designed by a team of employees with customer service in mind. The website design provides information and links for all transportation agencies in one place, with four main sections for the new transportation divisions. A new transportation calendar will provide residents and businesses with a single location to view public events and hearings hosted by MassDOT.

Residents and tourists will not experience significant changes in their commutes and travels on November 1 st. The MBTA website at www.mbta.com and Regional Transit Authorities will not change.

Visit the MassDOT Information Center online to download documents and materials on transportation reform, including the agenda for the first MassDOT Board meeting: https://www.massdot.state.ma.us/InformationCenter.aspx

For transportation news and updates visit EOT's blog at www.mass.gov/blog/transportation or follow them on twitter at www.twitter.com/massdot.