|Governor Charlie Baker announced Friday the selection of national leaders in transportation, economic development and municipal planning to perform an in-depth diagnostic review of the MBTA’s core functions.The panel will synthesize recent MBTA studies, conduct a performance review, examine the T’s core functions and benchmark results with other transit operations in order to ascertain the status of the system’s governance, finances, and capital planning.The special panel is expected to complete its review by the end of March.“Public transportation plays a major role in supporting and driving the region’s economy and in order to fix the problems with the MBTA they first must be diagnosed,” said Governor Baker. “This group of national leaders in transportation and public administration will provide us with a framework we can build on. Providing reliable public transportation now will require careful review, adequate resources and a serious discussion of re-structuring. It’s clear that following past procedures will only yield the same unacceptable results.”
The experts include Jane Garvey, a national leader in transportation policy and top pick for Secretary of Transportation in the Obama administration, Jose A. Gomez-Ibanez , the Derek C. Bok Professor of Urban Planning and Public Policy at Harvard University, and Katie Lapp, former Executive Director and CEO for the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority, North American’s largest transportation network. Paul Barrett will serve as chair.
MBTA Special Panel’s Objectives:
1. Develop a fact-base from available data and recently published reports to enable the MBTA and the Commonwealth to ground its future plans and recommendations.
- Synthesize the findings and recommendations of the previous reports
- Prepare a ‘state of the operations’ review on the strengths and areas needing improvement and attention; topic areas to include: maintenance, maintenance planning and preparation, operations, communications, decision-making, and governance
- Conduct benchmark review of similar transit systems operations
- 2. Undertake a rapid diagnostic on the state of MBTA asset management and maintenance, including:
- A review of reports and/or Request for Proposals issued by the MBTA related to asset management, system preservation, State of Good Repair and maintenance planning, budgeting and implementation at the MBTA
- An investigation of the current size of the MBTA’s State of Good Repair backlog, assessing the extent to which previous report recommendations related to asset management and system preservation were followed and evaluating what information the board received as it relates to these issues
- A review of the MBTA’s overall capital program to assess the processes for selecting projects, allocating funds between maintenance and expansion projects and delivering capital projects on time and on budget
3. Make recommendations to improve the MBTA’s governance, structure, financials, and operations in both the short and longer-terms to enable the MBTA to plan, operate and maintain a 21st century public transportation system.
MBTA Special Panel Members:
Paul Barrett has over two decades of public service experience in state and local government, including serving as an Assistant Director for Harbor Planning and Development for the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) and overseeing the Boston Municipal Harbor Plan under Mayor Raymond L. Flynn. Barrett would later be named Director of the BRA, responsible for executive direction of Boston’s planning, zoning and development activities. Following his service at the BRA, Barrett was named Secretary of Economic Development and Executive Director of the Rhode Island Port Authority by Rhode Island Governor Bruce Sundlun.
Jane Garvey is an industry expert in the public and private infrastructure sector, currently serving as North American Chairman of Meridiam Infrastructure. A former Massachusetts Commissioner of Public Works and director of Boston Logan International Airport, Garvey was the 14th Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) from 1997 to 2002 and also served as Acting Administrator and Deputy Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) where she developed the Innovative Financing Initiative to assist states in using federal highway funds more efficiently.
Robert P. Gittens is the Vice President, Public Affairs at Northeastern University where he represents Northeastern University with a variety of citywide partnerships and organizations such as the New England Council and the Boston Private Industry Council. Gittens serves on the boards of non-profit organizations, such as the Boston Municipal Research Bureau, Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education and the Red Cross of Massachusetts Bay. Prior to joining Northeastern, Gittens served the Health and Human Services Secretary for the Swift Administration and was a Commissioner for the Massachusetts Department of Youth Services. Gittens is an alumnus of Northeastern University’s School of Law and earned his B.A. in Political Science from Northeastern University as well.
Jose A. Gomez-Ibanez is the Derek C. Bok Professor of Urban Planning and Public Policy at Harvard University where he holds a joint appointment at the John F. Kennedy School of Government and the Graduate School of Design. He teaches courses in economics, infrastructure and transportation policy in both schools and his research focuses on infrastructure needed to support urbanization and the roles of the private and public sectors in providing infrastructure.
Katherine Lapp has over 20 years of public service in New York City and State government including serving as the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer for New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) from 2002 through 2006 where she guided the strategic, financial, and business operations of the largest regional transportation network and a budget of $10.2 billion, while also implementing a four year financial planning model. Lapp is currently the Executive Vice President at Harvard University where she serves as the chief administrative and business officer, responsible for crafting the University’s budget, financial and long-term capital planning, human resources and information technology. She also served in a similar role as Executive Vice President for Business Operations at the University of California.
Brian McMorrow brings 20 years of management experience with MassPort where he is currently serving as Chief Financial Officer for the Aviation Division, overseeing financial and operational business performance for Logan International, Worcester Regional and Hanscom Airports. Previously, McMorrow was MassPort’s Deputy Director of Administration and Finance and facilitated strategic operations and planning with the Commonwealth’s Division of Capital Planning and Operations, now the Division of Capital Asset Management. McMorrow has a Master of Science Degree in Engineering Management from Northeastern University’s School of Industrial Engineering and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Massachusetts.
Joe Sullivan was elected as Mayor of Braintree in 2007 and is the former President of the Massachusetts Mayors’ Association. Previously, Sullivan served as State Representative and the Chairman of the House Committee on Transportation, where he played a critical role in the re-establishment of the Old Colony Rail for the South Shore, the Metropolitan Highway System Legislation, Rt. 3 North add-a-lane project, MBTA forward funding legislation in 2000 and helped provide funding for a state wide road and rail program. In 2006, Sullivan served as a member of the Blue Ribbon Transportation Finance Commission which identified the important needs of transportation throughout Massachusetts. Mayor Sullivan graduated from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.