Text of resolutions approved by MBTA control board

Four deal with overhaul of commuter rail, one with buses

The following is the text of the five resolutions unanimously adopted by the Fiscal and Management Control Board on Monday to deal with the overhaul of the MBTA’s commuter rail and bus systems. The Massachusetts Department of Transportation said the text is the final version, but hasn’t been signed yet by control board chair Joe Aiello.

Resolution 1: The Fiscal and Management Control Board directs the General Manager and his staff to transform the current commuter rail line into a significantly more productive, equitable and decarbonized enterprise. Specifically, the FMCB expects that the assets of the commuter rail system of the future will be more similar to rapid transit providing all day service at intervals on its most dense corridors at 15-20 minute headways and appropriately scheduled additional service on all of its lines (herein referred to as regional/urban rail). The FMCB directs staff to develop a set of options that maximize the ridership returns on investment over the next ten years and support a pathway to more improvement over the long term, with particular emphasis on lines that are most likely to be well used. The FMCB expects that the system of the future will be largely electrified, be fully integrated in all aspects into the balance of the MBTA system and that last mile/first mile, increased parking access and other elements will be implemented as part of this program. The FMCB expects the MBTA to develop a program of high-level platform implementation in a sequence that is consistent with the Program for Accessible Transportation Investment (PATI) and optimizes impacts for the customer.

Resolution 2: The FMCB directs the GM to immediately take steps to prepare for implementation for Phase 1 of the transformation effort. While needed service along all corridors must be attended to, the MBTA shall first implement EMU powered service along the Providence/Stoughton line, the Fairmont line and the line from Boston to Everett to Chelsea to Revere to Lynn (the so-called Environmental Justice line). The Fairmont and EJ lines shall be designed to deliver rapid transit headways and at fare levels akin to the then fare structure of the rapid transit system. The MBTA shall generate a refined cost estimate for Phase 1 and prioritize pursuit of the estimated $1.5 billion dollars required for this three-pronged effort.

Resolution 3: The FMCB directs the GM to immediately establish a regional/urban rail transformation office. This office shall contain responsibility for all short, medium- and long-term elements of transformation including developing and maintaining the business case to support the investments needed. This office shall develop and implement environmental, financial, procurement, current commuter rail operating agreement re-bid and operational strategies as well as others as needed. This office shall be responsible for developing and implementing a stakeholder engagement plan. The staff shall have no other responsibilities outside the transformation mission.

No later than the last Board meeting in January 2020, the GM shall present to the Board for approval, the staffing plan (not individual employees) for the transformation office, the budget necessary to support the office, target completion dates for the three components within Phase 1 of the transformation effort, a conceptual work plan and schedule outlining the work to be pursued in the years 2020 and 2021 and a proposed consulting support plan that would bring in best practice international expertise. The FMCB requests that the current consultant that is engaged in the procurement strategy work – including work on the re-procurement of the current commuter rail contract – attend that meeting and present their work to date and the approach they intend to take.

Resolution 4: The level of investment and the complexity of mission needed to support resolutions 1 &2 above will require consideration of new contract mechanisms and new labor practices. The Board requests the Legislature to support the statutory authorization for a public-private partnership and reform proposals in Governor Baker’s transportation bond bill proposal. Greater use of the talent and innovation in the private sector is critical and tools that provide the Authority with greater leverage over long term performance of the private sector is essential.

Resolution 5: The FMCB directs the GM to establish a bus transformation office immediately. This office shall contain responsibility for all short, medium- and long-term elements of transformation, including developing and maintaining the business case to support the investments needed. This office shall develop and implement environmental, financial, procurement, and operational strategies and others as required. This office shall be responsible for developing and implementing a stakeholder engagement plan. The staff shall have no other responsibilities outside the transformation mission.

No later than the last Board meeting in January 2020, the GM shall present to the Board for approval, the staffing plan (not individual employees) for the transformation office, the budget necessary to support the office, a conceptual work plan and schedule outlining the work to be pursued in the years 2020 and 2021 and a proposed consulting support plan that would bring in best practice national and international expertise. The FMCB requests that the current consultant that is engaged in the Bus Network Redesign Strategy work attend that meeting and present their work to date and the approach they intend to take.