Monday, January 18, 2016

MBTA back on track

By A. Lawrence Lowell
State House Bureau Chief

Despite a few interruptions caused by winter weather and newspaper exposés, MBTA officials say that the T is on track to deliver the kind of service that residents of Greater Boston have come to expect.

In his annual report, MBTA General Manager James T. Burke said that he was confident that in 2016, the T could continue to provide paralyzing service breakdowns, fare increases, mismanaged capital projects, and lavish pay and benefits to its employees. “Thanks to the lack of effort we have put in, we expect that the next snowstorm, bout of cold weather, rain, or fog will cripple our system as in the past.   Just because St. Petersburg and Stockholm can maintain reliable electric train service through cold winters doesn't mean that we can," he said.

Happy MBT workers
In 2016, T employees will continue to collect overtime
while on sick leave, T officials promise

Burke also promised to impose another round of fare increases on T customers following the usual charade of public hearings over the next few months.  “We can't afford to pay overtime to employees already out on paid sick leave without more revenue," he explained.

Burke promised, with the assistance of the Legislature, to continue to stonewall any effort to bring the T's bloated labor contracts into line with national averages or reality: “The T exists to provide a free ride to its employees.  We don't see any reason to change that in 2016."

In fact, Burke said the T was considering bribing employees with even lusher early-retirement deals and then replacing them with new employees.  “This will cost us money, but it will give the impression we are taking the compensation issue seriously," he explained.

The T has been criticized for the old-
fashioned construction techniques used in
building the extension to Somerville
Finally, Burke committed to continuing the T's unblemished record of disastrous capital projects by mismanaging the already-over budget Green Line extension to Somerville.  “I know a lot of people thought that this project would be impossible to screw up because the right of way and tracks were already in place, but we have come through again with a $1 billion cost overrun and no effective oversight of a welter of contractors."

Asked for comment while scouting helipad locations for General Electric, Governor Charlie Baker '79 said, “We have got to get the ball up the floor and into the hoop.  That's the name of the game."

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