For Immediate Release - November 04, 2009

FOLLOWING RELEASE OF MBTA FINANCE REVIEW, GOVERNOR PATRICK CALLS FOR SWIFT ACTION TO IMPROVE SERVICE, RESTORE "CULTURE OF SAFETY & TRANSPARENCY"

Expresses confidence in current system safety; rules out fare increases

DORCHESTER - Wednesday, November 4, 2009 - With the JFK/Umass MBTA station serving as a backdrop, Governor Deval Patrick today accepted a top-to-bottom review of the MBTA's finances and immediately directed the administration's top transportation official to swiftly implement a plan to improve service and restore a culture of safety and transparency to a system millions of riders depend on every day.

"For too long we have not dealt with the service and financial problems the T faces. Folks have looked the other way and not always told the truth. That ends today," said Governor Patrick. "And while the picture is sobering and the problems are serious, we now know exactly what has to be fixed. The job now is to fix it."

In August, citing concerns about safety, finances and management, Governor Patrick asked former John Hancock executive David D'Alessandro to conduct an independent analysis of the MBTA's finances. The report, released by D'Alessandro today and available at www.mbtareview.com , provides for the first-time an objective, thorough and candid assessment of the T's financial state:

  • Legislation implemented in July 2000 known as "Forward Funding" has contributed to a structural deficit of at least $1.9 billion through FY2014.
  • A $3 billion backlog in FY2010 of projects necessary to maintain the "State of Good Repair" (SGR) standard used by transit systems to determine how much capital is required to maintain and/or replace existing infrastructure.
  • Several risk factors - future collective bargaining agreements, an increase in pension payments, unpredictable increases in energy and material costs and a growth in debt service payments - threaten to further exacerbate the T's finances and impede its ability to maintain and invest in its aging infrastructure.

The Governor reassured the public the system is safe and pledged the MBTA will recommit to keeping it that way. He also explicitly ruled out a fare increase, saying, "Let me be clear that the MBTA will not see and I will not approve a fare increase until service has improved tangibly as possible with the resources we have."

Rather than place additional burdens on T riders, the Governor today took the following proactive steps designed to improve service and restore a culture of safety and transparency to a system that is vital to the Commonwealth's economy:

  • Directed the new Secretary & CEO of MassDOT Jeffrey Mullan to review the backlog of capital investments and re-prioritize projects in order to keep riders and employees safe. The Governor said he expects the Secretary's plan to be reviewed and approved by the time of the MassDOT's board meeting in January. The plan will be made public to increase transparency and accountability to T riders.
  • The Governor also instructed Secretary Mullan and the MassDOT Board to immediately identify and put in place the right leadership team at the MBTA. He thanked interim General Manager Bill Mitchell for his service and expressed confidence that Mitchell will continue to effectively lead the agency until a permanent successor is identified.
  • The Governor has also asked David D'Alessandro to review Secretary Mullan's plan to it addresses the safety needs identified by his report and to give the administration periodic feedback on the state's progress in putting the T back on track.

"David D'Alessandro's sobering reality check is a call to action for MassDOT. I want to thank Governor Patrick and David for the tremendous commitment they have shown to T riders by bringing attention to the serious financial problems facing one of our most important public institutions," said Secretary Mullan. "Going forward, our top priority is and must always be the safety and security of T riders and employees."

For transportation news and updates visit the MassDOT website at www.mass.gov/massdot, blog at www.mass.gov/blog/transportation or follow MassDOT on Twitter at www.twitter.com/massdot.

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