Massachusetts Transportation Bench is Running on Empty

mbta green lineMBTA photo via Shutterstock


Two major leadership positions in Massachusetts’ transportation sector—MBTA General Manager and MassPort Executive Director—have been open for more than a year now.

Now, what initially appeared to be a modest restructuring of the MassDOT board (adding a new member and the Transportation Secretary) seems to be something much more. The coverage in yesterday’s Globe reveals that all board members were dismissed, and several former board members that suggest they won’t be reappointed.

So, that’s another six leadership positions open. It may take some work to fill those spots, given what happened to the current board. It’s also highly irregular to have this type of public dialogue from appointees. But keep in mind that this is not some hold-over board of Romneyites—these are Deval Patrick’s appointees.

It’s clear that salary is an issue in filling the MBTA post (and billions in debt and recurring operational deficits can’t help, either).

But the overall transportation bench here in Massachusetts is looking pretty thin right now. Secretary Richard Davey can’t do this all by himself, and it’s a disservice to the current interim leaders at the MBTA and MassPort to leave them in place for such a prolonged period.