Letter: MBTA is not the partner New Hampshire needs

Published: 6/19/2019 12:01:31 AM

MBTA has 6,419 employees. More than 2,000 of them are paid over $100,000 a year and more than 100 are paid over $170,000. One employee took home $315,000 by approving his own overtime. General manager Steve Poftak is paid $320,000, plus bonuses.

MBTA is $5 billion in debt and has a $10.1 billion maintenance backlog.

Despite the debt and the expensive onboard brain power, MBTA outsources operations to French firm Keolis for $972,600 per day.

MBTA owns the nation’s second worst safety record, with 45 derailments in five years, including two this month alone. In response, Poftak announced MBTA will hire a third party to examine the crash issue, saying, “I want a fresh set of eyes on this to make sure we’re not missing something.”

This wouldn’t matter to us except that our Legislature passed Senate Bill 241, which would launch into motion the first steps leading up to a long-term business arrangement with MBTA.

The plan is to give MBTA $10.8 million a year in ticket revenue and N.H. taxpayer-funded subsidies, which MBTA would pay to Keolis to operate and maintain rail service between Manchester and Lowell. In return, we would get train service that only 1% of commuters would choose over congested highways.

Rail hobbyists and lobbyists have convinced gullible N.H. legislators (mostly Democrats) that sending $10.8 million a year to Boston and Paris will generate “tremendous economic benefits,” amounting to hundreds of million dollars, in New Hampshire.

Gov. Sununu should not allow his fingerprints to be found on this train wreck. He should veto SB 241.



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