Groups seek more independence for T board
Want 7-member panel to issue its own debt
STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE
A GROUP OF TRANSPORTATION advocacy groups and an MBTA watchdog suggested Monday that the successor to the Fiscal and Management Control Board should be built as a larger, permanent panel that operates more independently of the Department of Transportation.
In a new report, the groups outlined recommendations for the Legislature to embrace that they said would create an oversight body tasked with long-term planning once the existing FMCB expires on June 30.
The MBTA Advisory Board, which represents cities and towns in the T’s coverage area, joined with the Conservation Law Foundation, MassPIRG and the Transportation for Massachusetts coalition to call for granting the successor board greater leeway and more powers than the FMCB has, including ability to issue MBTA debt without MassDOT approval so that it can plan major transformative projects.
The current board, which Gov. Charlie Baker created in the wake of the disastrous winter of 2015, will sunset at the end of June. Baker proposed a new seven-member board in his fiscal year 2021 budget bill, and the House approved its own language extending and expanding the current board, but lawmakers so far have not reached a final agreement.