Baker Appoints Several New Directors to MBTA Board

Gov. Charlie Baker today appointed the seven-member Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) Board of Directors and designated Betsy Taylor as chair. In July, Governor Baker signed legislation that established a new, permanent board of directors for the MBTA.

 “I am pleased to appoint this distinguished group that together will bring years of leadership and knowledge to serve on the MBTA Board of Directors,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “The expertise and diversity of perspectives that make up this Board will allow the MBTA to continue to focus on providing safe and reliable service to riders as it invests record levels of funding across the system, and I am thankful for the Board’s willingness to serve.”

“The guidance and insight of this Board will be valuable and significant as the MBTA continues to build a resilient and robust system working with multiple communities,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “We look forward to working with the Board to maintain the MBTA’s progress.”

The Administration previously proposed the Board in its Fiscal Year 2022 budget recommendation and before that, in its Fiscal Year 2021 budget recommendation, to replace the Fiscal and Management Control Board (FMCB) created by the Administration following the winter of 2015.

“The MBTA has become a safer, more reliable and equitable service provider that riders can depend on thanks in large part to the dedicated, strategic and transparent leadership provided over the last few years to address a system that had been overlooked and neglected,” said Transportation Secretary & MassDOT CEO Jamey Tesler. “As the MBTA turns this corner, and we collectively emerge from the pandemic, the General Manager and his team are well positioned to continue to address ridership and revenue challenges, while successfully building on the record capital investments and customer-focused initiatives that have improved on-time performance, safety and reliability. I look forward to working with the Directors to serve as a strategic resource, and see that the MBTA’s progress continues.”

“The MBTA looks forward to working with and receiving direction from the new Board as we continue to invest in the system and build back better, more equitable service for our current and future riders,” said MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak. “We’re committed to working with the new Board to continue to invest billions of dollars, not only this year, but in the coming years, to modernize MBTA infrastructure and to continue to make dependable improvements for our riders in order to provide the safest, fastest service possible.”

By statue, the MBTA Board of Directors will consist of seven members. The Secretary of Transportation will serve as an ex-officio member. The MBTA Advisory Board appoints one member who has municipal government experience in the MBTA’s service area and experience in transportation operations, transportation planning, housing policy, urban planning or public or private finance. The Governor appoints the remaining five members, including a rider and resident of an environmental justice population, and a person recommended by the President of the AFL-CIO.

The appointment of five new board members to the MBTA Board of Directors marks the first step in addressing transportation issues in not only Revere, but all over the Commonwealth,” said Mayor Brian Arrigo. “There is certainly a lot of work ahead for the new Board, but I have faith they will make strides to develop the MBTA into a more equitable, convenient, and accessible transportation authority.”

Betsy Taylor (Chair) has served as the Treasurer and Chair of the Finance & Audit Committee for the MassDOT Board since 2015. During this time, she inspired the creation and hiring of a department-wide Chief Compliance Officer and is a Co-chair of the Allston I-90 Financing Team. Previously, Taylor worked at the Massachusetts Port Authority from 1978 to 2015 in a variety of financial roles and continues to serve as an elected board member of the Massport Employee Retirement system. While at Massport, she established the Authority’s first Treasury Department in 2001, and secured and maintained its Aa3, AA-, and AA credit ratings. Taylor also worked for the University of Massachusetts, Boston as the Assistant Director of the Office of the Budget. A longtime resident of Massachusetts, Taylor received her Bachelor’s degree from Oberlin College and her MBA from Stanford University.

Robert Butler serves as the President of the Northeast Regional Council of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART), a post he has held since May of this year, as well as serving as the Vice President of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO. Previously, Butler served as the Business Manager of Sheet Metal Workers Local 17, where he was responsible for managing over 5,000 Union members and oversaw millions of dollars in investments and Union funds. Butler spent almost 20 years as a Journeyman in Local 17, giving him a strong understanding of the needs of trade employees that he uses to advocate for worker’s rights.

Thomas “Scott” Darling is an independent consultant where he provides advice and expertise to organizations to help them improve their safety, security, environmental, and change management performance. Previously, Darling served as the Chief of Safety, Security, & Control Center Operations for the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), where he directed the function and Activities of the CTA’s Safety Department. He also served as for three years as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrator at the United States Department of Transportation after being confirmed by the Senate. Darling had previously served at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration as the Acting Administrator and as its Chief Counsel. Darling also worked at the MBTA from 2008 to 2012 as a Deputy Chief of Staff and Assistant General Counsel, as well as working for the Conservation Law Foundation from 1999 to 2005 in various capacities. He received his Bachelor’s degree from Worcester’s Clark University and later went on to receive his Master’s degree from Tufts University and his Juris Doctorate from Suffolk University Law School.

Travis McCready is the Executive Director, US Life Sciences Market for JLL.  Before this, McCready most recently served as President and CEO of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, and before that, the Vice President of Programs for The Boston Foundation (TBF). In this role he focused the TBF’s grant awards on education, health, economic development, the arts and local neighborhoods. McCready previously served as TBF’s Chief of Staff and Corporate Secretary from 2001 to 2003. From 2010 to 2013 McCready was the Executive Director of the Kendall Square Association, where he increased membership and represented the organization as a member of Governor Patrick’s Economic Development Advisory Committee. McCready also has experience working at the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority in a variety of leadership roles and as Director of Community Affairs for Harvard University. He received his Bachelor’s degree from Yale University and his Juris Doctorate from the University of Iowa College of Law.

Mary Beth Mello is the principal at Mello Transportation Consulting, where she helps consult with the MassDOT Rail and Transit Division on matters related to the Commonwealth’s Regional Transit Authorities. Previously, Mello worked at the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) from 1993 to 2010, first as a Deputy Regional Administrator and then later as the New England Regional Administrator. While there, Mello oversaw federal funding for a variety of local initiatives, including the MBTA’s Green Line Extension project and Connecticut’s Walk Bridge Railroad Bridge Replacement project. She received several awards while working at the FTA, including the USDOT Secretary’s Gold Medal and Silver Medal. Mello is a graduate of Smith College, where she received her Bachelor’s degree, and Boston University, where she received her Master’s degree.

The MBTA Advisory Board has appointed Quincy Mayor Thomas Koch as its designee.

“The appointment of a new Board of Directors of the MBTA is a milestone to be celebrated.  I look forward to the new Board bringing to focus the stabilization of T finances and the need to focus on increased ridership. For many residents of Revere and Winthrop, the MBTA is a lifeline to medical, social and economic opportunity,” said State Representative Jeffrey Rosario Turco.

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