Massachusetts lawmakers have given final approval to a compromise $38.1 billion budget and sent it along to Gov. Charlie Baker for his signature.
Governor Charlie Baker scored a significant win on his efforts to reform the MBTA.
Debating the $38 billion budget, lawmakers endorsed Baker's proposal to suspend the Pacheco law, making it easier for the T to privatize services, such as fare collectors and late night bus service where Baker says, "we lose $20 a rider. That service put out to bid - we may not lose any money at all!"
Baker wanted a permanent suspension of the Pacheco law for the MBTA. Although he only got three years, House Speaker Robert DeLeo thinks that is sufficient.
"I do, I think that gives us a good barometer in terms of how helpful it can be actually. I think that most importantly right now the governor has some of the tools," DeLeo said.
The Carmen's Union, which represents T workers, fought hard against the suspension of the Pacheco law, saying it will probably cost jobs. And the union says union workers are now taking the hit for failures in T management. But Speaker Deleo says everyone will have to sacrifice.
"We have to get the T moving in an efficient manner. We saw what happened last year. And when you have a situation like that, sometimes you have to take some steps are a little bit stronger than you normally would," he said.
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Baker also got a version of his fiscal management control board for the T.
"They did the thing that was most important for me which was they created an entity that will focus solely on the T operations and governance, financial performance and all the rest inside the larger DOT Government structure," Baker said.