Not that you need to hear us bitch about winter—though your sympathies would not be misplaced—but is this worthy of a first-class city?
The MBTA is broke and broken. It is structurally insolvent. Breakdowns and late arrivals are, indeed, unacceptable, but the bulk of the T’s troubles are not about Dr. Beverly Scott, who resigned yesterday as general manager. They are, in fact, the fault of multiple administrations and legislatures, as well as advocates who pushed the MBTA to expand faster than is reasonable – and without adequate funding to undertake, operate or maintain the projects. More immediately, they are the fault of the MBTA’s board, which is ultimately responsible to Massachusetts residents for the T. The board’s job is to uphold the public trust and ensure the good operation and management of the transit authority. They did not do that.
You’ll note that none of that mentioned the six feet of snow dumped on us in the past few weeks. All of the above is the corrosion that enfeebled the city’s transit system.. The snow caused it to collapse (along with a few roofs, garages, sheds, etc.). When we covered this yesterday, we called the T a pension system (and travel agency) that ran a public transportation system on the side.
We should have added employment agency:
According to the state’s own transparency website, OpenCheckbook.com, headcount at the T, even in difficult times, has increased by 900 since 2012. Since 2001, total compensation costs nearly doubled.
Nine hundred? Who? What do they do? They sure as hell don’t sell tokens.
We’ll spare you the litany of failures on the T (very expensive failures), and cut to the chase:
Pioneer Institute believes it is time for emergency legislation to fix the MBTA, and that the legislation should take two concrete steps:
First, place the MBTA in receivership, removing the power of the MBTA Board and establishing a receivership board.
Second, combine receivership status with debt relief and strict controls on hiring.
That’s right, it’s time to repo the Red Line; garnish the Green Line; own the Orange Line. Stop the bleeding. No more expansion, no more hiring—end the absurdly generous pension benefits (end the pension itself!) that allow people to retire before their first gray hair.
You may think this is a Boston thing, but Detroit was just a Detroit thing, Stockton was just a Stockton thing, and Illinois is just an Illinois thing. Wherever Democrats rule without check, this could happen. I wager it will.