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Posted by Jeff Mullan, MassDOT Secretary & Chief Executive Officer

When I became Chairman of Massport, I thanked Massport for the role it has played in transportation reform and said that Massport would gain a larger seat at the transportation reform table.  I am aware that for many years Massport has participated in a meaningful way in our surface transportation program, including its purchase of roadways that were built as part of the Central Artery/Tunnel Project, its assistance with the Silver Line bus rapid transit line and, of course, the transfer of the Tobin Memorial Bridge to MassDOT.  I realize that there are challenges to this issue, but we need to seriously and substantively look at ways Massport can do more.

Today, with Dave Mackey’s help, I am establishing the Airport Ground Access and Surface Transportation Working Group to undertake the following:

1.    Document the conditions under which Massport may participate in our surface transportation system and the limits of that participation.  This documentation should include a review of Massport’s statutory powers and its status, including a full understanding of Federal revenue use law and Massport’s “grandfathered” status which permits it to spend airport revenue on the seaport;

2.    Document the ways that Massport is currently participating in our surface transportation system and the ways Massport benefits from the system; and

3.    Present to this Board and to the Board of Directors of MassDOT ideas and proposals pertaining to Massport’s role regarding surface transportation, actions steps that might be taken to increase that participation, the conditions to which these actions might be subject, and potential changes in law, regulation or policy that might be necessary.

Members of the Air-Ground Group are Paul Regan, Executive Director, MBTA Advisory Board; John Affuso, Senior Transactions Counsel, Massport; Lowell Richards, Chief Development Officer, Massport;   Betsy Taylor, Director of Finance, Massport; Jonathan Davis, Chief Financial Officer, MBTA; Clinton Bench, Deputy Director, Office of Transportation Planning, MassDOT; and Rachel Bain, Deputy Director for Innovation, Office of Performance Management and Innovation, MassDOT.

Given the importance of this issue to all of us, I encourage the group to reach out to national experts on revenue use law, to retain and rely on staff expertise in our transportation organizations and outside consultant help as necessary, to consult with legislative leaders on their perspectives, to work with our Federal partners in the USDOT who have experience with this issue, to document these issues carefully, and to exhaust as many of the options available to us as is possible. 

I have not established a period of time during which the Air-Ground Group is to exist but have asked that its first meeting be held not later than August 3, 2011.  I have asked the group to file its first report with me, David Mackey, Richard Davey, General Manager of the MBTA, the MassDOT Board, and the Massport Board not later than 60 days from today. 

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