-- For immediate release --
Contact: Lee Matsueda, (617) 592-1295, firstname.lastname@example.org Alternatives for Community and Environment
Carolyn Villers, (617) 435-1926, email@example.com Massachusetts Senior Action Council
Community groups representing MBTA riders challenge Baker transit board appointment
Groups say Shortsleeve is wrong choice, demand disclosure on any private sector ventures that may conflict with MBTA business
BOSTON (JUNE 2) – Local groups representing MBTA riders, communities of color, and seniors are raising concerns today over Governor Baker’s controversial proposed appointment of outgoing MBTA Chief Administrator and Acting General Manager Brian Shortsleeve to the MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board in a joint letter to state legislators. The letter calls out Shortsleeve’s failure to disclose to riders, taxpayers, and the media his new business interests and whether they create conflicts of interest for his potential appointment to the FMCB or in his current role. Massachusetts Senior Action, Alternatives for Community and Environment, GreenRoots, and the Chinese Progressive Association, who signed the letter, have called on Massachusetts legislators to demand that Shortsleeve “fully disclose the employment or client opportunities that have seemingly hastened his urgent departure from the MBTA.”
The MBTA’s skilled, dedicated workforce has waged a campaign to defend taxpayers, workers, and riders against a string of proposed MBTA privatization schemes during Shortsleeve’s tenure, including proposals to outsource core MBTA bus maintenance services to corporations like TransDev that has come under fire for major service failures around the globe. Workers and supporters are calling for long overdue investments in pubic transit.
As the tide turns against right-wing privatization efforts in the dramatically underfunded MBTA, public transit supporters say that MBTA officials should look to the community and the MBTA workforce for fact-based, collaborative solutions. There is growing consensus that the MBTA’s largest privatization efforts have been failures. Since the MBTA allowed for-profit Keolis to take control of public commuter rail services, the results for riders and taxpayers have been disastrous. Millions have been spent to bail out the for-profit company after they underbid their contract. Data shows that Keolis continues to struggle with providing on-time service, despite massive taxpayer bailouts.
Outsourcing contracts, including with S.J. Services, ABM Industries, and the Maine Military Authority, have been dramatically underbid, costing taxpayers millions. Underbidding has caused major repair delays to key MBTA fleet vehicles and attempts by janitorial contractors to rip health insurance from workers. More recently, a private contract between LAZ and the MBTA allegedly resulted in millions of stolen proceeds, and BRIDJ, a private bus company eyed by some MBTA officials as a possible replacement for public buses, collapsed in dramatic fashion.
Representatives from the organizations signing on to the open letter – the Chinese Progressive Association, GreenRoots, Massachusetts Senior Action Council, and Alternatives for Community and Environment (ACE) will be at the MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board meeting on Monday, June 5th to testify and will be available for comment.
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Alternatives for Community Environment (ACE) builds the power of communities of color and low-income communities in Massachusetts to eradicate environmental racism and classism, create healthy, sustainable communities, and achieve environmental justice. ACE is anchoring a movement of people who have been excluded from decision-making to confront power directly and demand fundamental changes in the rules of the game, so together we can achieve our right to a healthy environment.
Massachusetts Senior Action Council (MSAC) is a statewide, grassroots, senior-led organization that empowers its members to use their own voices to address key public policy and community issues that affect their health and well-being. MSAC has over 1,200 members, 30 affiliated groups, and six active chapters located in Boston, Bristol County, Cambridge/Somerville, Greater Springfield, Metro North, and North Shore communities.