Today, the House and Senate voted to send the final FY2016 legislative budget to Governor Baker. Transportation for Massachusetts thanks the Conferees and the Legislature as a whole for their hard work throughout a complex budget process.
We are grateful and pleased that the budget preserves several key pieces of the 2013 transportation law: increased contract assistance to the MBTA to support day-to-day operations of the authority; the General Fund transfers, which support statewide transportation funding; and the MBTA fare cap, which ensures that fare increases are predictable and affordable for people who ride the MBTA.
The budget establishes a Fiscal Management and Control Board (FMCB) to govern the MBTA for three or five years. The FMCB will be connected to an expanded and improved MassDOT board, with the Secretary as chair, a rider representative, and municipal representatives, including members serving conterminously with the Governor. As key stakeholders, the rider and municipal representatives will bring valuable perspectives to the Board. With these reforms in place, the Governor will appropriately have more control over both the MBTA and MassDOT, with the FMCB allowing him to focus energy on improving the MBTA’s performance and stability.
The budget also contains a modest $2 million increase for Regional Transit Authorities, which serve riders across the state.
T4MA looks forward to working with the Governor and the Legislature as provisions of this budget are implemented. Even with many positive reforms, the fact is that the MBTA, and our transportation system as a whole, remain underfunded. Plans for rebuilding the MBTA will take substantial new investments. Later this year, we look forward to the initial report and capital plan of the FMCB, which will demonstrate how far we have to go.