Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker Announces Search for Permanent MBTA Leadership

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker says he will hire an outside firm to help in the search for a permanent chief of the MBTA and extend the transit agency's fiscal control board until 2020.

The Republican governor made the announcements during an address Thursday to the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce.

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority is currently led by Chief Administrator Brian Shortsleeve, who has also been acting general manager since July.

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Baker says the T is making progress by improving winter operations, cutting its operating deficit and changing its culture, but more needs to be done.

The T's Fiscal Management and Control Board was created two years ago following a winter that brought the agency to a standstill. It was established under a three-year term with the option for five.

Baker also announced that he is seeking $200 million for local transportation projects across Massachusetts.

He said he's filing a bill requesting the money to help cities and towns make needed upgrades to roads and bridges.

Baker said he hopes to have the money in place by April to help communities pay for those projects at the start of the construction season.

He said similar funding requests in past years have resulted in the release of hundreds of millions in transportation funds.

The bill includes $30 million for accessible vehicles for municipal transit agencies, local councils on aging, and private nonprofits to provide transportation to seniors and individuals with disabilities.

The bill would also provide $70 million to help upgrade the Registry of Motor Vehicles' core information technology system.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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