Can We (Ever) Fix the T?

WED, APR 26, 2023 (1:01:51)

Public transit is essential to the well being of the Commonwealth, and is key to addressing climate change, promoting social equity, and supporting a vibrant economy. Yet with a litany of safety challenges, the MBTA may be the worst public urban transit system in the nation - it is certainly the oldest - and the system most in need of repairs. Even with billions of dollars spent to try and fix the system, from the public’s perception it is worse than ever. And there is no public plan or timeline for when it will be fixed. With Governors and managers of the recent past failing to meet these challenges, can a new Governor and General Manager be expected to do the job? Can the Legislature? And what is the job that needs doing? Those are the questions we’ll be pursuing with our expert panel.

+ BIO: Thomas P. Glynn

Thomas Glynn is an Adjunct Lecturer at the Harvard Kennedy School where he teaches Public Management.

From 1989 to 1991 Glynn served as General Manager of the MBTA where his focus was on customer service and employee morale.

From 2012 to 2018 Glynn served as Chief Executive Officer of Massport which includes Logan Airport, Hanscom Airport, Worcester Regional Airport and the working Port of Boston. Glynn’s focus was increasing the number of international flights, updating the terminals at Logan, protecting the 7,000 blue collar jobs in the Port of Boston, and increasing the priority of diversity commitments in real estate designations which has become known as the Massport Model.

At the federal level Glynn served as Deputy Secretary of Labor in the Clinton Administration. And in the nonprofit sector Glynn served as Chief Operating Officer of Partners Health Care.

Glynn has a BA from Tufts University and a PhD from Brandeis University.

+ BIO: Beth Osborne

Beth is the Director of Transportation for America. She was previously at the U.S. Department of Transportation, where she served as the Acting Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy and the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy since 2009. At DOT, Beth managed the TIGER Discretionary Grant program, the Secretary’s livability initiative, the development of the Administration’s surface transportation authorization proposal, and the implementation of MAP-21.

Before joining DOT, Beth worked for Sen. Tom Carper (DE) as an advisor for transportation, trade and labor policy, as the policy director for Smart Growth America and as legislative director for environmental policy at the Southern Governors’ Association. She began her career in Washington, DC, in the House of Representatives working as a legislative assistant for Rep. Ron Klink (PA-04) and as legislative director for Rep. Brian Baird (WA-03).

+ BIO: Jarred Johnson

Jarred Johnson is the Executive Director of TransitMatters.

He came to this position after serving as a project manager for the Codman Square Neighborhood Development Corporation where he managed a variety of complex affordable housing real estate projects and supported organizing efforts for better service on the Fairmount Line. Before that, he helped start the “Love Your Block” mini-grant project and helped write the City of Boston’s first Volunteer Plan as a part of the Civic Engagement Office.

His area of interest is how transit and housing intersect with advocacy and organizing. And through working with low income communities, he’s come to understand just how important access to jobs, walkability, and green forms of transportation can be to raising a community out of poverty and poor health outcomes.

+ BIO: Josh Ostroff

Josh was the coalition’s Interim Director and oversaw all coalition operations, leads our staff team, and is the primary contact for our Executive Committee and external stakeholders. Josh also helps to connect our coalition with local and regional government, and with allied organizations and associations all throughout Massachusetts.

Josh is a former Natick Selectman, where he is active in local government, a past president of the Massachusetts Municipal Association, and a strong proponent of transportation and public engagement. Josh has a B.A. from Brandeis University.

+ BIO: Bob Seay

Bob Seay is the transportation reporter for WGBH News.

He formerly hosted Morning Edition for WGBH News, and has worked as a broadcast journalist for more than three decades. Before joining WGBH in October 2010, Bob was Morning Edition host at Rhode Island Public Radio and the director of community radio station WOMR in Provincetown. For more than 15 years, he was the news and public affairs director at WQRC in Hyannis covering Cape Cod and the islands. Bob has also worked as a host on WBUR.