T4MA’s Next Chapter:
Advocating Together for a Just and Equitable Transportation System Massachusetts Deserves
Dear members, colleagues, and friends,
Over the past 18 months, T4MA’s Core Team led a deliberate process to strengthen the organization’s mission, vision, and governance structures to center transportation justice.
Building on this work, I am proud to lead T4MA into an exciting new chapter as executive director. I want to introduce myself and share some of the perspective I bring. I hope to meet and hear from you in your communities, as we work together to create greater equity and opportunity for all.
I have worked in transportation for over 10 years, leading in various capacities. Some of you may know me from my time at the MBTA, where I brought more frequency to the Fairmount Line, and launched the first Free Fare Bus (Route 28) in Boston. From there, I worked on equity issues at the Institute for Human Centered Design, leading projects that ensured transit stations and facilities are designed to be accessible and inclusive of people with disabilities.
While working on the Fairmount Line Pilot, I came to know some of the advocates and policy-makers who spent decades pushing the agenda forward. More importantly, I got the opportunity to immerse myself in the communities in Dorchester and Mattapan that the pilot now serves. The pilot was launched in June 2020, at the height of the pandemic, and yet, it showed a steady ridership - testament to the overwhelming need in that corridor. The pilot was so successful that it became permanent in mid-2022. I find myself reflecting on the collaboration, dedication and tenacity required to address solvable systemic inequities.
Before moving to Boston, I experienced and witnessed first-hand the travails of pervasive gross inequality and inequity. I previously served as Undersecretary for Transportation for the Republic of the Philippines, where I took on an extensive portfolio including building multi million/billion dollar infrastructures like a best-in-class international airport and representing government at multilateral organizations and conventions like COP21, where I helped negotiate the Paris Agreement.
While these were all rewarding, the most daunting task was always how to advocate and implement public transportation policy in an environment where the top 1% captures 17% of national income and the bottom 50% split only 14% of the national income. I saw up close how transportation networks can either embrace or cast away.
At COP21, leading negotiations for Technology and Mitigation.
Change and social impact takes time, commitment and courage. All over the world – from Frederick Douglass protesting segregated train cars in Lynn in 1841 to Rosa Parks in 1955 to the Edsa Revolution in 1986, and the Umbrella Revolution in 2014 – rights continue to be famously fought for with transportation as the stage - whether on the streets, on buses or trains. Transportation hosts movements; it underpins so much of our personal and social interactions, and intersects with public health, climate and the environment, housing, and opportunity.
The democratizing power of transportation is powerful and impactful particularly for low-income communities and communities of color in Massachusetts who have to live with the health, economic, and environmental ramifications of transportation inequity – from more car pollution to less trees and shade to longer, more cumbersome travel times.
Drawing from our communities’ lived experience and our collective human condition as prime drivers for change, and aligned with T4MA’s Restructuring Commitments, I am excited to collaborate with communities and organizations across the Commonwealth to help deliver a vision of transportation justice in which:
- All people have access to safe, reliable, affordable, and equitable transportation systems that connect to the places, people, and resources they need to thrive.
- The people most impacted by transportation injustice have decision-making power in developing policy decisions that achieve and maintain the aforementioned goals.
- We make efforts to address and un-do the years of discrimination and harm caused by redlining, racism, and discrimination embedded in our transportation, housing and political systems.
I look forward to bringing my experience in transportation, climate, innovation, project finance and management, and community engagement to serve T4MA and our members well as we tackle the transportation challenges in front of us. I am humbled to lead in this role, standing on the shoulders of immigrants who came to Massachusetts before me to build better lives, enrich our communities and strengthen our Commonwealth.
I am beginning my role as T4MA Executive Director with a statewide tour of outreach and dialogue, meeting with organizations and communities working on equity issues that intersect with transportation, including housing, public health, environment, and economic development across the Commonwealth.
I hope to learn from you and advocate alongside you to bring to life the transportation system Massachusetts deserves.
Executive Director, T4MA