Baker appoints new MBTA board
Longtime Massport official Betsy Taylor will be chair
GOV. CHARLIE BAKER on Thursday announced the formation of a new seven-member board to govern the MBTA, with a state transportation veteran at the helm.
The new board will be chaired by Betsy Taylor, who has been the treasurer and chair of the finance and audit committee for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation board since 2015. (The transportation agency has its own board that is separate from the one governing the MBTA.) Taylor worked in financial roles at the Massachusetts Port Authority from 1978 to 2015.
The previous Fiscal and Management Control Board that had been in place since 2015 expired at the end of June. In July, the Legislature reached an agreement on the makeup of a new, permanent MBTA board.
In recent days, Baker had been facing pressure to appoint the new board after a series of accidents involving the MBTA. The Fiscal and Management Control Board that the new panel replaces was established following the disastrous meltdown of the T amid record snowfall in 2015.
The four members appointed by Baker along with Taylor are:
- Robert Butler, president of the Northeast Regional Council of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers and vice president of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO.
- Thomas “Scott” Darling, an independent consultant who advises organizations on safety, security, environmental, and management performance. Previously, Darling was chief of safety, security, and control center operations for the Chicago Transit Authority. He spent three years as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrator at the US Department of Transportation. He worked for the MBTA from 2008 to 2012 as deputy chief of staff and assistant general counsel.
- Travis McCready, the executive director of the US Life Sciences Market for the commercial real estate firm JLL. McCready previously served as president and CEO of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, and before that, as vice president of programs for The Boston Foundation.
- Mary Beth Mello, the principal at Mello Transportation Consulting, where she consults with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation Rail and Transit Division on matters related to regional transit authorities. She worked at the Federal Transit Administration from 1993 to 2010, including a stint as New England regional administrator.
In addition to the five appointments made today, Transportation Secretary Jamey Tesler will be an ex-officio member of the board. The MBTA Advisory Board was required to pick one member with experience in municipal government, and they selected Quincy Mayor Thomas Koch.MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak said in a statement, “We’re committed to working with the new Board to continue to invest billions of dollars, not only this year, but in the coming years, to modernize MBTA infrastructure and to continue to make dependable improvements for our riders in order to provide the safest, fastest service possible.”
The executive director of the MBTA Advisory Board, which represents the 176 communities in the T’s service area, praised the formation of the new board. The appointment of five new board members “is a necessary first step towards addressing the MBTA’s numerous of problems” said Brian Kane in a statement. “The new Board is a critical step in building on the strong foundation laid by the [Fiscal and Management Control Board]. It will have many challenges and will need to go well beyond the reforms put in place in recent years to ensure that the MBTA is safe and solvent.”