MBTA hires consultant with questionable record

In a June 28th article, The Boston Herald reported that the MBTA hired Karen Antion as a consultant to oversee the Positive Train Control project which aims to improve train safety. Antion, who supervised a similar project in California that was marred by delays and other issues, is being paid $260,000 per year.

The $231 million project previously managed by Antion for Caltrain, a private rail company in the San Francisco Bay area, is over two years behind schedule, slated to open in 2017. Following delays, the firing of the project’s contractor by Antion, and a subsequent lawsuit, Caltrain stepped down from her position as project manager last July.

According to Massachusetts Transportation Secretary, Stephanie Pollack, Antion was brought on because no one on the current staff has experience with a project of this magnitude. Pollack told The Herald, “Obviously it is a very high priority project on a very tight timeline … and the market price for an experienced manager who can handle a project like this is pretty expensive.” Pollack also stated that T officials were aware of the issues associated with Antion’s previous project for Caltrain, but chose her because she had the best experience for the position. The MBTA faces federal fines of $105,000 per day if the project is not completed on time.

Read more here.

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