State Representative Bill Straus on the MBTA (7-22-15)
Jul 22, 2015|
Representative Bill Straus, House chairman of the Joint Committee on Transporation, discusses how things have changed for the MBTA since the disastrous winter and what the future holds
Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.
That its first rodeo and it is only. At the back of the except some spirited and well fifteen that they hit it and make it quite awake and they didn't do when it for years without. How significant investment. This story's trending in Boston. The boston.com. Morning show on the voice of Boston WRKO. 48 that was definitely sky. Rockets. Last winter as things she went to hell if you will on the hand basket yes that is and she is of course. No longer with the T. And since that time the governor has made this a priority to try to get the teeth cleaned up we learned just moments ago. That. Kyoto the keel less which is the date company that runs the team. Now. Theme MBTA is going to allow Q was to use seven point five million dollars in penalties that they oh. To try to improve. The conditions on the T try to add more employees so instead of paying seven point five million to the state they want to reinvest it. Into the trains in the system so it's a better system for the customers who use it each and every day. Representative bill Straus is the chairman of the joint committee on transportation and he's joining us this morning here in the boston.com morning show. Represented a thank you for joining us and you say that this issue thank you sir is the situation better now. That it was let's say in January as we head into that deep winter. Well I. He ED is better because we we do have an excellent. General manager in front ala who replace. Beverly Scott whose statement you played earlier. He's inexperienced manager with a career with the inside incitement dot but. Is some of the species remain in and I think it's important for the listeners to know that. The issues of on time performance fare collection cleanliness staff being at keel list. Didn't start with the winter storms they were starting to be signed last October and November. 800000. Dollars and that at a clip. By the MBTA war lack of performance so it's a lot more complicated unfortunately in just the winter storm. You know representative I've tried to remind people of that because I do you remember before the storms hit that we had trains that were off line in we have here that day. And they're rate of about being late was just astronomical. And then distort city don't just got that much worse. Detroit there's so I think one of the things is. We have to now look forward eight. Understand what they see that TP yesterday evening in terms of redirecting. Nearly earned just over seven million dollars in fine expecting to this system. But that doesn't provide the incentives going forward because now you sent a message. To peel is managers that the fines will be used to. Insist on the performance things. There's supposed to be doing anyway collect writers keep the trains clean have adequate staffing levels so. I I really think. We're in the beginning. One year into an eight year contract. The new administration is reluctant that I think you've got to reopen contract and provided an entirely different incentive system. Which should have been in place not to bicker administration's fault but should have been in place starting a year ago. Eight years is way too long represent the Strauss right. Well eight years he's been to bed period for a contract if it's a good contract. But delete the current contract in place which has no incentives war. Keel list to collect all the fears they're supposed to work keep the train is clean and they're supposed to. Even gonna cut it because it appears right now again since this wasn't just that we are storm issue. That this is just the cost to doing business repeal in the fine. Don't seem to have shifted their behaviors so they have to think in terms of something more. Because we just can't deal with deal with it like tedious for another seven years. Represented at the pioneer institute says that the act he has lost 450 million dollars as a result of not privatizing at least a portion. Of this system. The Chico law. It throws up roadblocks. To prevent that from happening where you stand under the Chico law is it time for that to be reevaluated. Well what we did in that final budget was. The senate ultimately agreed in a conference committee to adopt outs position. Suspending. The piece that you go lower as it affects the MBTA except laws that state governor signed last week that we send. Does this spin. The Chico privatization law for three years going forward with regard to the MBTA. And so is now up to the administration asked for this authority. Did to prove their case the only thing about privatization I have to point out is. When you think about keel listen commuter rail it's one giant privatization contract that's already in place. So you have to look not just that the label privatization both what have you put into the depth privatization contract. Because just saying privatization. Isn't the end of this story it's only the beginning as to how you're gonna supervised and managed. Private contractors who perform public services. What if in fact the administration can come up with a plan. Including that information that you just sent those details would you be someone who would be in favor that. Well we've given them that authority yet. These seized the chance for the baker administration to make that case the problem with the pioneer institute studies and transportation is. They compared in one of their much touted bus contracts studies. They compare this to. Counties in Florida Houston Texas Southern California. Which as far as I know don't have the same kind of winter problems we had. So the comparisons. Pioneer. Maybe at pine your studies may be over drawn. But the idea that we can get others to help us means help this state government run services. He's really nothing new when you think about it ward the MBTA. That house since 2002. We've been running commuter rail is by using private companies. Oh I think the baker administration is on top of this. You know on the democratic think that they are. Sincerely. Out to run the best transportation system possible and so we've given them that that opportunity. Two and make it run better cause that's what the public is demanding of us. So representative were about six months away from winter I don't know what it wants to hear that Elijah and I now. Hi I'm gonna have to watch out when I got to my car but having said that. What's been done so far and what we'll be done is the fall approaches to make sure that we don't end up where we were a year ago. I think what's happened is there's been a lot more attention to detail we've seen in BP A itself on nearly a daily basis. Not just for commuter rail but for the bus. And the subway system in terms of how the managers are or aren't dealing with their operations. They've consolidated a lot of engineering department. They have brought some of their contract things warp speed capital projects. Into line and I'm in. Very comfortable with the job that they did general manager who was brought in March. Has been doing. And I think that. Or I believe that the daily report should be an ad out now when I say I believe. What I'm referring to is there daily on time performance. Numbers they get shipped to the governor's office in his secretary every day. A few weeks ago I asked that they be released the one report the report Ike again I posted on the web site. But I think these numbers should be out there every day and public can see how we're doing. And I think Susan and I agree with you search your scorecard absolutely you're out. And you you keep making reference to frank DePaula is used in from GM will he be named general manager released it. I certainly hope so that that the call that the secretary. Gets to make the secretary transportation. We've given the authority in the new law that the governor's time last week to point to general manager. And that was one of the major fixes prior law and let the indirectly appointed men step forward tired of the general manager. So that in the midst of the winner crisis. Beverly Scott wasn't clearly answerable to anybody and we went through I think of at least a week's period where. She and the governor weren't talking to each other those kind of impediments are gone. The governor and he's secretary of transportation. I really in direct control with the MBTA so we have clear lines of authority. Sister who's in control and whose response. Well represented if we're logically come on this morning talked later about where we stand right now now will you answer the phone in January. I certainly will get a. Alex as Hudson hit a a irate representative William Strauss is the chairman of the joint committee on transportation thank you sir for joining us today here in Boston a morning show. The people you talk to what they say when they read to the number one complaint that I did in bridge document the statistic. 70% on time during peak hours why can't that be 90%. Well apparently that's what they're saying it has to be now how we gonna get there. What will sit right you go oh it's over rhetoric it is. It is which are also at a budget techsters text in India say they're noticing that on the commuter rail and her there's a lot more tendency to complain. After the winter that occurred so. The tees are more packed. There you know they say there's three or four conductors were ruined there's only two and just people or very very vote. What was their text books conducting. People aren't going out people are taking note. Additional people wanna go through that again you know and I'm glad to hear. You know I knew that that was in the budget you know the governor wants to privatize apportioned. Of this and I realized that you know the representative said look keel is is a private company that's already been in place. You know he's issue is with the contracts and and you know what hopefully they can reopen this contract with keyless you know all for that to him and you had to do something to fix it apparent to me that was the easiest route to a private. Right right. Let's look or at least a portion let's it's at least a portion of its or now the administration has. Three years to put together that plan and and we hope at the end of that that means privatization for portion of it. And and better service.