Fixing the T is going to take a long time
Pollack said job could last 10 to 20 years
MBTA AND STATE TRANSPORTATION OFFICIALS made clear on Monday that fixing the T will be a long-term project that could take 10 to 20 years and won’t be finished by next year’s gubernatorial election.
The comments came at a meeting of the T’s five-member Fiscal and Management Control Board as officials discussed how long the board should remain in existence and how it should evaluate pilot service expansion projects.
Under current law, the T oversight board must remain in existence for three years but can extend its life for an additional two years. Gov. Charlie Baker recently urged the board to remain in place for five years, and the four board members present for Monday’s meeting said they thought that was wise policy. The board members, selected by the governor, are in their second year of service. They receive no pay for their work, which typically involves one public meeting a week.
The board members also indicated that they believe the T should retain its own oversight board once their terms expire. Previously, the T had been overseen by a Department of Transportation board with broader oversight over all state transportation issues.
Steven Poftak, a member of the board, said close oversight of the T will be needed for at least five years and probably much longer.Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack said fixing the T could take as long as 10 to 20 years, based on how long it will take to bring the transit system up to a state of good repair. She made her comments during a discussion of pilot expansion projects, responding to board members concerned about expanding service at a time when the agency is struggling to provide existing service.
“We’ve got a lot of years left to invest in the system to get in good shape,” Pollack said, estimating the time frame at 10 to 20 years. “It’s a long time to say all we’re going to do is focus on service we already have.”