Mass. Senate Passes MBTA 'Bailout' Bill
By Sarah Birnbaum
June 20, 2012
STATE HOUSE, BOSTON — If your sports team is losing, you fire the coach. That’s what Sen. Gale Candaras (D-Wilbraham) proposed doing with the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority during a June 20 fight over a proposed $51 million bailout of the struggling agency.
“In corporate America every single day, on professional sports teams every single day, if the team you have isn’t getting you where you need to go you need to find a different way of doing it," she said. "You need people with different voices, fresh talent, different perspectives.”
Candaras and four other senators wrote an amendment to the bailout bill that would suspend the MBTA’s board of directors and replace it with a new governing board.
They argued that this is the third time the state has been asked to bail out the MBTA. And that the agency gets more public subsidies than other major transit system in the nation. And that it already receives 60 percent of its funding from general state revenues.
Senate leadership and other lawmakers agreed the bailout bill would only provide a one-year fix for the T's financial woes, and that long-term solutions are needed. But they said that replacing the managers of the MBTA wouldn’t cure the T’s unsustainable structural deficit, aging infrastructure and large Big Dig debt load.
The House passed its bailout bill on June 13.
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About WGBH News Focus: The MBTALove it, like it or lump it, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority touches nearly everyone's lives in eastern Mass. And it's in financial crisis, with newly announced fare hikes not enough to cover next year's projected $100 million budget deficit. WGBH News features special focus coverage of the tracks and troubles of our public transit system.
Sarah Birnbaum is WGBH News' State House reporter. Send her a news tip.
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