The MBTA is one of the most significant challenges our next Governor will face. The Doughty/Campanale Administration will be proactive in addressing the many issues to improve service, the riding experience, safety and the finances of the oldest public transit system in the country.
Making Massachusetts more affordable is the foundation of a Doughty/Campanale Administration. A safe, effective and efficient MBTA is a vital part of the Greater Boston and Massachusetts economies. For many years, it’s worked well. Today, the MBTA is seen as an albatross on the region and the state’s finances; but Doughty sees the MBTA as an opportunity, and an important asset for the Commonwealth and its future. In addition, Doughty believes the best days of the T are still ahead of us.
Unlike any of the other candidates for Governor, Chris Doughty has the experience to fix broken complex organizations, turn them around and make them safe, productive and efficient. He has been doing it for more than 30 years, and he is the only candidate for Governor capable of the type of critical thinking and planning necessary to see the problem through.
As the next Governor, the Doughty/Campanale Administration initiatives will start with the following:
The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) issued directives to the MBTA and the Department of Public Utilities (DPU), the state agency responsible for safety oversight of the MBTA’s rail transit operations. The FTA’s four special directives identify management issues that must be mended to improve the safety of the system:
— Hire qualified staff members at the Operations Control Center to address significant staffing shortages, certification issues and current employee fatigue problems;
— Create and implement standard operating procedures to address safety problems and repair protocols;
— Prioritize critical maintenance work and complete urgent repair projects quickly; and,
— Eradicate lapses in staff safety certifications.
Beyond immediately implementing these directives, Doughty, along with consultation with leadership, will implement frequent third party safety audits, effective and functioning safety committees, world class preventative maintenance systems, employee training and development, and a checklist culture throughout the organization.
In addition, the Doughty administration will take a proactive role in improving employee satisfaction to reduce employee turnover and improve hiring. Doughty knows from three decades in an industrial setting the importance of longevity and satisfaction of the workforce to ensure safety and reliability.
At first, the focus will be on ensuring that every employee has a highly trained supervisor or manager. Most often, employees leave their manager and not their job. So, much emphasis will be placed on good management skills and training. In addition, the HR systems will be reviewed to ensure we have best in class HR systems to ensure employee longevity, training and performance.
Fix the finances
The system is saddled with $5.3 billion in debt. A whopping 22% of the MBTA’s annual spending is dedicated to debt service – $303.4 million for interest on the debt and $220.1 million in principal payments.
In the last two years, the state government has realized more than $5 billion in surplus revenue. As Governor, Doughty will consider using a portion of that surplus revenue to pay-down the MBTA’s structural debt to begin reducing debt service payments.
In addition, the pension is funded only 65%. The Doughty team will seek to fund the pension to 75% by the end of our second term by directing additional funding to the employee pension program.
Doughty will consider all proposals to increase ridership. Working with all stakeholders, our goal is to return ridership to at least 80% of pre pandemic levels by 2023. The goal is for the system to become revenue neutral with self-sustaining revenue sources by the end of our first term.
Improve employee engagement
As an executive who has worked in manufacturing his entire career – and wasn’t afraid to grab a wrench on the shop floor and fix a broken machine – Chris Doughty knows you can’t succeed unless every one of your employees has a total buy-in to the overall mission and goals of the organization. Improving the MBTA will largely be accomplished in the railyard, not the boardroom.
As Governor, Doughty plans on spending time with the employees who repair the trains and maintain the lines. The initial focus will be on building a world class preventative maintenance system, building a “checklist culture,” and ensuring operating and safety instructions are simple and easy to follow. Every person who works for the MBTA will know they have a Governor who cares about them and their problems and is fully invested in helping them succeed – so the MBTA can succeed.
Reduce Red Tape
Doughty will ensure that all MBTA leaders are trained adequately in lean systems to identify forms of waste and excess and unnecessary process steps. In addition, Doughty will encourage MBTA leaders to engage all employees in continuous improvement activities to identify and reduce wasteful processes. Employees know best where time and resources are being wasted in their jobs. As wasteful process steps are eliminated, systems are more reliable, and both customer and employee satisfaction improves.
In addition, the Doughty administration will set a goal for the MBTA to receive third party recognition as the best run public transit system in America by the end of our second term. We will engage all leaders, employees and stakeholders to achieve this goal.