Posted by Jeffrey Mullan, MassDOT Secretary & Chief Executive Officer
Rich Davey and I spent Tuesday afternoon speaking with the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Transportation. The hearing was called to discuss poor performance on the commuter rail this winter. We told the Committee that we need to do better and that the T and MBCR have a plan to do so. We also told them that performance since the snowstorms this winter is showing improvement.
During the course of our testimony before the Committee, it became clear that a key to improved service is increased investment and a commitment to making up for years of putting off the need to purchase new rolling stock. The Committee responded by stating that any increases in investment must be a part of a system-wide approach. I couldn’t agree more.
The Committee also asked us where we were on the “reform before revenue” approach we adopted in 2009. I told them that we were squarely in the “reform” phase, and that any discussion about “revenue” must be preceded by a process and a conversation with them and the public. I told them that this conversation can be framed by three questions:
1. Where were we when we started?
2. Where are we now?
3. Where do we want and need to be?
So today, I ask the same questions. Do you think we have made progress? What more should we be doing to implement the reform law? What sort of system do we need to have next year? Five years from now? Twenty years from now?
The Committee has invited us back for more discussion, and I expect a much more public dialogue about these and similar questions over the next few months. I would like to hear your thoughts on these issues before we have those conversations.