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Winter-Resiliency-Plan-AccouncedThe unrelenting snow of this past winter revealed significant problems in our public transportation system, and our legislation “An Act for a Reliable, Sustainable MBTA” includes several reforms to address more overarching issues that have left Massachusetts without the world-class public transportation system it deserves.

The time to increase the efficiency of the T is now; something our taxpayers and T riders deserve. With this sense of urgency in mind, Governor Baker, Transportation Secretary Pollack, and interim MBTA General Manager DePaola have announced an MBTA Winter Resiliency Plan to act alongside reform package currently before the state Legislature.

This plan designates nearly $83 million in investments to repair the damage from last winter, as well as prepare Massachusetts for future winter storms. The Winter Resiliency Plan includes what lacked during last winter’s crisis: strategy for future emergencies. The plan will provide invaluable additions to the T: switch heaters, snow fences, emergency power generators, and better snow clearing equipment. Now, if another unforgiving Massachusetts winter hits (and, let’s face it, it always does), we can confront it with preparation and immediate emergency response.

snow-green-line-mbtaWhile the Winter Resiliency Plan is one step in the right direction to a fully functioning MBTA, it cannot and will not impact the many overarching issues uncovered by the Governor’s Special Panel. The plan will undoubtedly help the T when the cold weather months arrive, but only when coupled with Governor Baker’s MBTA reform package will our public transportation system truly change for the better.

Key elements of the plan include a Fiscal Management and Control Board to manage and oversee the operations and finances of the MBTA for 3-5 years, improving its service and reliability. While the House has included effective reforms in their budget proposal, the full slate of reforms in “An Act for a Reliable, Sustainable MBTA” must be considered to get the T’s finances under control, its governance reshaped, and its leadership given the flexibility it needs.

We look forward to continuing to work with the Legislature to enact the reforms that will result in a dependable MBTA, rain, snow or shine.

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