In its first report to the Legislature, the MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board (FMCB) detailed underlying problems at the MBTA that are even more serious and deep-seated than reported in April by the Governor’s Special Panel to Review the MBTA.
The FMCB’s baseline analysis of MBTA finances, operations, and management identifies significant structural challenges in the authority specifically regarding rising expenses and for the first time accurately calculates the state of good repair backlog.
“Without question, this report paints a bleak picture of the current state of the MBTA,” said FMCB Chairman Joseph Aiello. “But it provides the baseline we need to be able to move forward with actions to get the MBTA back on track.”
The report also cited progress under the MBTA’s new governance structure and leadership. The winter resiliency program, currently under way, will enable the MBTA to better withstand major storms and extended cold, it notes, and a new agreement between the MBTA and Keolis Commuter Services is targeting shortfalls in the system’s commuter rail service. The MBTA is also doing a better job of spending available funds on capital projects and has taken steps to improve workforce productivity and reduce absenteeism, the leading cause of dropped trips on both buses and the subway system.
The Fiscal and Management Control Board was established as a separate entity to provide focused and dedicated oversight of the MBTA’s core functions. Since its first meeting on July 21, the FMCB has met weekly and individual working groups have been formed to more deeply examine operational, fiscal and other issues.
Today’s baseline analysis will be followed by a series of other reports, including the FMCB’s first annual report, which is due December 15. That document will offer a more comprehensive review of the MBTA and offer an initial set of recommendations, including steps to balance the MBTA operating budget.
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