October 6, 2017/Press Releases

Governor Baker’s Transportation Bungles Continue

October 6, 2017

Emily Fitzmaurice, Massachusetts Democratic Party, 617-939-0808


Governor Baker’s Transportation Bungles Continue

BOSTON – Responding to the disastrous roll-out of the new vehicle inspection program, the Massachusetts Democratic Party today issued the following statement:

“Governor Baker’s mismanagement of our transportation agencies is only getting worse and it is long past time for him to stop blaming others for his screw-ups,” said Massachusetts Democratic Party Chair Gus Bickford. “The Baker administration’s repeated inability to manage private contracts is ample evidence that the Governor values the profits of the contractors more than long-suffering drivers and riders of Massachusetts.”

Vehicle Inspections

A new statewide vehicle inspection system launch on Monday, by a private state contractor with history of poor service, is a disaster. Frustrated inspection stations, gouged by the contractor for $6,000-$8,000 machines that haven’t been activated, and a tech support helpline that hangs up, have forced drivers to waste time visiting as many as nine inspection stations to find one with a working system.

An RMV spokeswoman insisted the transition was “running smoothly.”

Commuter Rail Collision Avoidance Contract

Also this week, the private contractor installing the MBTA’s $459 million system to prevent commuter rail train collisions revealed that they “[failed] to detect problems” and errors were only “spotted after-the-fact.”

Members of the Governor’s Fiscal and Management Control Board called the latest fiasco “really disturbing,” and “a complete failure,” adding that “we’ve seen disappointing performance on a wide variety of contracts.” The T won’t reveal how much time and resources T staff spend in fixing “screw-ups” by private contractors.

The consultant hired by the MBTA to oversee the project “helped supervise a similar project in California that was plagued by delays and reports of infighting.”

Call Center Consolidation

The MBTA has delayed Global Contract Services’ consolidation of three call centers for the MBTA’s paratransit service, after customer service deteriorated when the first two call centers merged.

Expected savings are now “unlikely to materialize,” and the agency recently hired another separate contractor to assess Global Contract Services’ performance.

Commuter Rail Performance

Fired former MBTA General Manager Dan Grabauskas is back at the transit agency with a newly approved contract that has him again pulling down six figures, this time to oversee the private commuter rail contractor at the MBTA.

Once a Republican candidate for Treasurer, the taxpayers of Massachusetts bought out his previous contract at the T for $327,000. Grabauskas subsequently moved to Hawaii, where he lasted four years as CEO of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation. After a “scathing report by the city auditor” and growing calls for his resignation, Grabauskas took a $282,000 payout to leave the agency.

In addition to Grabauskas, the agency is preparing to hire yet another official to oversee the Keolis commuter rail contract.