MBTA GM Will Come With Transit Experience, Healey Says

"The T needs workers, and so we're going to make sure that we have the right GM in place," the governor-elect said in an interview Tuesday

MBTA Transit Police

The next MBTA general manager will be someone with experience in transit operations, Gov.-elect Maura Healey said Tuesday after announcing earlier in the day that she would hire a firm to launch a global search for candidates.

Asked during a live interview on GBH News's "Boston Public Radio" about her approach to addressing myriad problems at the T, Healey, who has yet to make any appointments to top transportation jobs, said her focus is on building out her team.

"We've looked at some candidates. We're doing a worldwide search to make sure that we are bringing to town the best possible candidate to be the next general manager. That person is going to have transit experience, they're going to have operations experience, and they're going to understand that right now, we've got a real workforce challenge when it comes to the T," Healey said. "The T needs workers, and so we're going to make sure that we have the right GM in place."

Changes are coming to the MBTA, but whether they lead to a better future remains to be seen.

The governor-elect said she also plans to appoint a "transportation safety chief" who will be "responsible for making sure that everything is inspected." The MBTA currently employs Ron Ester as chief safety officer, but Healey said of the position she's proposing, "We've never had this before."

She linked improvements at the MBTA to the region's economic health and its response to climate change, arguing as others have before her that it will be difficult to convince people to move away from cars if the system is not safe, reliable and affordable.

When host Jim Braude asked if Healey would commute via the T herself, the Democrat responded, "Oh, now and again."

"I think it's important that we do have and that I have personal experience with the experiences that other residents around the commonwealth are having," Healey said. "It certainly won't be every day, and as you know, Jim, as governor, my job, I'm going to be all over the state. But I do think it's important that we be in touch with the lived experience of residents around the state, including how it is they come and go to work."

Copyright State House News Service
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