Elected officials and community groups speak out against First Transit
On Monday lawmakers confronted members of the MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board on their efforts to privatize the agency’s bus maintenance operations.
Statehouse News reported that at the meeting Senator Marc Pacheco, spoke out against First Transit, the sole bidder on the contract with a poor track record in the state, stating, “As I stand before you today, I cannot believe that we may end up handing over a contract to a company that held the commonwealth up for over $66 million … when we have the best bus maintenance workers in the United States of America doing the job today.”
Representative Tackey Chan also presented the FMCB with a letter signed by 46 lawmakers — about a quarter of the state legislature — voicing concerns over the contracting process. Commonwealth Magazine reports that lawmakers wrote, “With past privatization efforts leading to downgrades in service and travel, this measure represents a dismal step backwards in the quality of service to be received by daily users of the MBTA.”
The lawmaker’s letter also requested the board produce correspondence between MBTA officials and First Transit from both current negotiations for bus maintenance as well as their previously failed contract with the agency, which resulted in a $7.3 million settlement when the private contractor backed out of the contract.
Lawmakers voiced skepticism on the current bidding process, saying,”It is telling that what should have been a robust and comprehensive bidding process yielded only one proposal. The sole submission by First Transit indicates a grave error on the part of the MBTA and is only exacerbated by the disastrous history that the company possesses.”
During the meeting, Senator Pacheco also spoke out against the FMCB’s failure to negotiate with the union for savings despite a unanimous vote by the board for this course of action last April, concluding, “As I stand before you today, I cannot believe that we may end up handing over a contract to a company that held the commonwealth up for over $66 million … when we have the best bus maintenance workers in the United States of America doing the job today.”
Listen to the full testimony in the video and get the word out by sharing with friends and family!