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Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker yesterday proposed legislation that would significantly modify the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority's (MBTA) current operating practices. Known as "An Act for a Reliable, Sustainable MBTA," the bill follows many of the recommendations made by a special panel report that Baker commissioned earlier this month. The legislation calls for the creation of a Fiscal Management and Control Board (FMCB), as well as a chief administrator to oversee operations and finances through 2018 and plot out capital plans. The board and administrator would also introduce reporting and audit requirements, in addition to lifting procurement restrictions for the agency. The FCMB would have five members, with three directly appointed by the governor. "The [MBTA] failed its stress test this winter when we needed it most, exposing the deep operational problems and lack of planning," Baker said, referring to major breakdowns during extreme winter weather conditions earlier this year. "We simply cannot afford a repeat and this legislation sets in motion significant reforms to once again deliver accountability, reliability and the world-class transportation system Massachusetts deserves."In addition to leadership overhauls, Baker's legislation calls for removing caps on fare increases, although current discounts for students, senior citizens and individuals with disabilities would be retained.
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