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Greater Boston Chamber, Conservation Law Foundation, and MBTA Advisory Board Partner to Assess MBTA's Progress

November 15, 2018

Boston, MA – The Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce (GBCC), the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF), and the MBTA Advisory Board today announce that they have partnered to publish an accountability assessment of the MBTA’s progress toward meeting goals set in the MBTA Strategic Plan created by the Fiscal and Management Control Board (FMCB) in 2017 as well as other baseline documents, including the T’s Capital Investment Plan. The coalition reflects the diverse and broad constituency of MBTA ridership and each organization has a vested stake in the Authority’s ability to provide safe, reliable, sustainable, and world class service to Greater Boston’s communities and customers. 

The FMCB itself called for accountability in its release of the 2017 Strategic Plan which stated, “If executed well, the plan is intended to ensure that there is never again a deterioration of our public transit system, and instead, that we are supported and held accountable to continuously improve the vital service we provide.” The coalition’s planned assessment will measure progress on priorities and goals set by the FMCB to provide the public an objective analysis of the MBTA’s accomplishments and challenges to date. Based on the findings, businesses, advocates and the 176 cities and towns in the MBTA district can determine how to best support the MBTA’s continued progress. The findings will also help to gauge whether current investments, finances, and operational resources, are sufficient for the MBTA to meet its needs and goals. 

The first report will be released in the first quarter of 2019, and then annually to inform the budget process and capital investment strategy. Using publicly available data and information provided directly by the MBTA, progress will be measured following a rubric created by the three partner organizations. The rubric will be focused on the measurable goals of the Strategic Plan and will be organized around four key categories: fiscal sustainability, infrastructure, customers, and management.

The coalition applauds the work of the FMCB in creating the 2017 plan and the public transparent process leading to its publication, and we embrace the plan as a dynamic document that should be updated on a regular basis. In determining progress, the report will take into consideration plans laid out in other strategic documents such as the MBTA’s Focus 40 Investment Plan and its five-year Capital Investment Plan that include initiatives not spoken to in the FMCB strategic plan.  It is the coalition’s expectation that an updated version of the MBTA strategic plan consolidates all MBTA strategic initiatives into one master strategic plan.   
“Transportation, and particularly public transit, is a top public policy issue for our members because a robust transportation network underpins every successful and vibrant economy,” said James E. Rooney, president & CEO of the Greater Boston Chamber. “Providing an accountability check four years into the FMCB’s service is necessary to ensure greater Boston and Massachusetts are prepared to meet current residents’ needs and to embrace future economic growth.” 

“Everyone in Massachusetts deserves access to reliable public transportation,” said Amy Laura Cahn, Director of CLF’s Healthy Communities and Environmental Justice Program. “The state must invest in public transit that gets people out of their cars, drastically reduces carbon emissions and serves everyone, including doing more to reach the people who need transit the most. The MBTA needs to be held accountable to provide better service to the public, and this assessment is one step towards helping the T do just that.” 

“An efficient and reliable public transit system is critical to the health and development of the communities it serves,” said Paul Regan, Executive Director of the MBTA Advisory Board.  “For our cities and towns to be strong and vibrant places, we need the MBTA to fulfill its potential. The Strategic Plan has to be the roadmap to that goal.” 

“Stakeholder feedback and transparent data sharing is imperative to any strategic plan, and particularly for the MBTA as we continue to instill consumer confidence in our ability to make the MBTA the world class public transit system our state needs and deserves,” said Joseph Aiello, Chair of the FMCB and partner and director of business development North America at Meridiam Infrastructure. “On behalf of the FMCB, we are thankful to the Greater Boston Chamber, Conservation Law Foundation, and the MBTA Advisory Board for their commitment to this initiative, and we look forward to the issue of the first report.”  

About the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce 

The Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce is the convener, voice and advocate of our region’s business community, committed to making Greater Boston the best place for businesses and people to thrive. It helps its members and Greater Boston succeed by convening and connecting the business community; researching, developing and advocating for public policies that contribute to our region’s economic success; and providing comprehensive leadership development programs designed to grow strong business and civic leaders. Learn more at BostonChamber.com.  

About the Conservation Law Foundation  

CLF protects New England’s environment for the benefit of all people. We use the law, science and the market to create solutions that preserve our natural resources, build healthy communities, and sustain a vibrant economy. We’re working to cut pollution from our cars and trucks, create alternatives to driving, and push for more affordable and equitable public transit options across New England. To learn more about our work, visit www.clf.org.  

About the MBTA Advisory Board 

The MBTA Advisory Board was created in the same legislation that created the MBTA to serve as oversight and voice of the communities served by the MBTA.  We monitor the MBTA’s spending and capital plans and track the performance of the MBTA’s service.  The MBTA Advisory Board advocates on behalf of its members and on behalf of the transit riding public. Learn more at mbtaadvisoryboard.org.