The Back Story

Checking in on T control board at halfway point

Checking in on T control board at halfway point

FMCB adopts a collegial approach to oversight

  THE MBTA’s FISCAL AND MANAGEMENT CONTROL BOARD is halfway through its five-year term, which seems like a good time to review its progress so far.  The law creating the control board said the five-member group was needed to ensure that the transit authority embraces transparency and accountability, strives for organizational and fiscal stability, and earns the trust of the public.   The MBTA has(...)

Read More »

MBTA parking contract said to be in disarray

MBTA parking contract said to be in disarray

T’s ex-parking director gives private operator F+, claims costs are rising

THE MBTA’s DIRECTOR OF PARKING resigned last week after distributing a 30-page statement detailing how the agency’s parking contractor is not living up to the terms of its contract and how T management is refusing to step in to correct the problems. David Friend said in his statement that he submitted his involuntary resignation after(...)

Read More »

An exercise in democracy or a crapshoot?

An exercise in democracy or a crapshoot?

With 12 candidates, Democratic race for 3d Congressional District may showcase election system flaws

THE DEMOCRATIC CONTEST to succeed retiring US Rep. Niki Tsongas is shaping up to be a wild scramble, with 12 candidates in the race as of this week. On the Republican side, three candidates have thrown their hats in the ring so far. As much as the race looks like a healthy outpouring of democratic(...)

Read More »

Walsh’s transportation to-do list

Walsh’s transportation to-do list

It’s a unique moment to address the city’s inequities

In the aftermath of a massive general election victory by Boston Mayor Marty Walsh – and recognizing the political capital that goes along with that – it seems a good time to assess the opportunities for meaningful progress on a number of initiatives that have the potential to set Boston and the region on an irrevocable path toward a(...)

Read More »

MBTA overnight bus service a tough sell 

MBTA overnight bus service a tough sell 

Absent financial help, project unlikely to proceed 

The MBTA put off action this week on an overnight bus service pilot project, and a review of the underlying numbers suggests the initiative will have a hard time gaining traction without someone other than the T kicking in additional money.  The debate shows how difficult it is for the MBTA to expand operations in tight economic times without strong demand for(...)

Read More »

MBTA still having problems with some contracts

MBTA still having problems with some contracts

Collision-avoidance system, paratransit call center are 2 examples 

Two years ago, when the Green Line extension ballooned in cost from $2 to $3 billion, the project highlighted the MBTA’s inability to hire competent contractors and to oversee their work to a satisfactory completion.  The Green Line extension now appears to be back on track; the price has been pared back to $2.3 billion and a new team has been put in place to(...)

Read More »

Rick Perry links pipelines, natural security

Rick Perry links pipelines, natural security

Region's grid operator to release fuel security study next month

THERE WAS MORE NEWS out of Washington this week suggesting that the federal government could intervene to override local opposition to natural gas pipelines in order to protect national security. According to press reports, Energy Secretary Rick Perry singled out New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his political opposition to building new pipeline capacity in(...)

Read More »

Could feds pave way for new Mass. gas project?

Could feds pave way for new Mass. gas project?

Buzz builds on FERC priorities under Trump

 Environmental activists who oppose the construction of new natural gas pipeline capacity in New England are watching what’s going on at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in Washington with growing concern.  The federal agency last week overruled a decision by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation denying a water quality permit for the construction of a connection between an existing pipeline and a natural(...)

Read More »

MBTA rolls out new transit ambassadors

MBTA rolls out new transit ambassadors

Use of private contractor expected to save $4m a year

  THE MBTA IS STARTING to ramp up its new transit ambassador program, its latest bid to improve service using private contractors. Transit ambassadors, wearing bright red shirts emblazoned with the T logo and the words “Questions? Ask Me!” on the back, help riders with any problems they may have. The new ambassadors, who work(...)

Read More »

Walsh, once an opponent, welcomes pot

Walsh, once an opponent, welcomes pot

Boston mayor makes plans for 40 or more retail shops

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh was among the most vocal opponents of the ballot question to legalize marijuana and, once it passed, complained that Massachusetts cities would become the default centers of the retail industry as smaller communities opted out of allowing the sale of pot inside their borders. Many smaller communities are moving to block(...)

Read More »