7:30 a.m. | Massachusetts Building Trades Unions holds its 104th annual convention. On Monday: Senate President Spilka speaks at 3 p.m., Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Lauren Jones on stage at 4 p.m. .....MGM Springfield, 1 MGM Way, Springfield
10 a.m. | Congresswoman Trahan holds "Pandemic Preparedness Roundtable" event to talk about "modifying and adapting the Pandemics and All-Hazards Preparedness Act (PAHPA) to fit the needs that communities, health care facilities, and businesses are facing today." | Cross Point's UKG Tower 1, 900 Chelmsford St., Lowell
10:30 a.m. | Rep. Cutler and Sen. Jehlen, co-chairs of the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development, host a legislative briefing on two bills (HD 2814 / SD 1521) aimed at closing gender and racial wage gaps that would require companies with 15 or more employees to disclose salary ranges for new job postings, promotions, transfers, and when requested. | Room 428
11 a.m. | Members of the Joint Ways and Means Committee visit Amherst to hold a public hearing on local aid and education spending included in Gov. Healey's fiscal 2024 budget. | UMass Amherst Student Union Ballroom
11 a.m. | Mass Cultural Council and partners announce what it says is a "historic investment" in the creative and cultural sector of Central Mass. through two cultural sector recovery grant programs. | EcoTarium, Alden Planetarium, 222 Harrington Way, Worcester
12:30 p.m. | Gov. Maura Healey joins Lt. Gov. Driscoll to meet with the Black and Latino Legislative Caucus. (CLOSED PRESS) | State House
2:30 p.m. | Mayor Michelle Wu will join Boston Police Commissioner Michael Cox for a media availability. | Boston Police Headquarters, 1 Schroeder Plaza, Roxbury
When it comes to inherited headaches for Gov. Maura Healey, the T is at the top of the list.
Riders will continue to feel that pain come the Monday commute as the Red, Orange, Blue, Green, and Mattapan Lines crawl along the tracks at reduced speeds. Riders should expect slow motion all week as MBTA engineers continue repair validations and speed verifications following a Department of Public Utilities site visit last week.
Riders can use the T’s Trip Planner tool to find bus routes that run parallel to subway service.
Friday morning commuters hopped on trains running at half-speed following a late-night surprise announcement that all four subway lines would drop to half speed or less.
Interim MBTA General Manager Jeff Gonneville later told reporters the move came “out of an abundance of caution” because the agency lost critical track inspection paperwork.
It’s the latest screw-up in the MBTA’s never-ending cascade of headline-grabbing faux pas that have already begun to define Healey’s two-month-old administration in similar fashion to how it colored former Gov. Charlie Baker’s early days.
The Republican governor was greeted by a spate of blizzards that ground public transit to halt as he took office in January 2015, exposing major infrastructure and management shortfalls at the MBTA. From derailments and crashes to injuries and deaths, the fallout continued throughout Baker’s tenure. The pile-up of T-related woes culminated last year in a scathing federal safety review that forced a month-long shutdown on the Orange Line in an attempt to improve safety and speed up repairs.
In Healey’s two months in office, those federally mandated repairs have fallen behind schedule, a long-overdue billion-dollar contract with Chinese company CRRC for delivery of new Orange Line trains remains unfulfilled. One of those trains spent a day broken down on the side of Route 495 last month.
A passenger narrowly avoided injury weeks ago when a 40-year-old, 20-pound ceiling tile crashed to the ground inches from him at Harvard Station.
As improvements chug along, Healey is doing some slow-walking herself. MASSterList will track the latest MBTA woes daily in our new tracker.
MBTA watch 🚇
Days since the last derailment, fire, or critical incident: 3
Days without “normal” weekday subway service: 266
On Jan. 5, Gov. Healey pledged to hire a new MBTA Transportation Safety Chief within 60 days. It has now been 67 days with that and the GM spot still unfilled.
Healey appears close to naming a new GM. WBZ’s Jon Keller on Friday first broke news Renee Amilcar, general manager of transit services for the Canadian capital city of Ottawa, has emerged as a top candidate.
The T is also staring down the track of financial ruin as it shapes its budget for the coming fiscal year.
Pre-pandemic, fares from riders covered roughly 42% of the T’s $2.55 billion operating budget. But MBTA budget writers are counting on rider fares to make up barely a quarter of next year’s budget. It plans to dip further into reserves to balance the budget.
Chief Financial Officer Mary Ann O’Hara said at a recent meeting the budget will confront a “new normal” in ridership where levels are about half of what they were before March 2020.
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Progressive group eyes another wage hike after successes
Raise Up Massachusetts, the progressive organization behind the states millionaire’s tax and responsible for the recently completed rise in the minimum wage have filed paperwork to place another question before the voters, according to campaign finance data, writes the Boston Herald’s Matthew Medsger. A policy plan for a series of four annual rate hikes to bring the standard wage up to $20 per hour by 2027.
The Boston Herald | BU News Service
Winter rears its head: Nor’easter to bring heavy snow
Old Man Winter is reminding New Englanders that despite clocks springing ahead on Sunday, winter is still here. The season’s strongest snowstorm yet could bring a foot of heavy, wet snow to some regions of the Bay State and damaging winds are expected to howl throughout the state, writes Rick Sobey of the Boston Herald.
The Boston Globe | The Boston Herald
Capping rents: Looking good for rent control proposals in Mass.
If Boston’s rent control proposal makes it through the state Legislature, it may have a good shot at being signed into law, Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll hinted on WBZ-TV’s Keller at Large segment Sunday morning — but she made no guarantees.
Bank on it: Healey, Wu pledge support for businesses following Silicon Valley Bank collapse
State and local officials on Sunday said they are working to support Massachusetts businesses and employees affected by last week’s historic collapse of Silicon Valley Bank, one of the largest and most influential banks to the Boston-area startup community, writes Nick Stoico of The Boston Globe.
Betting the farm: Waltham crop could be at risk following city overtake
Waltham purchased 28 acres of prime, active agricultural land near the Watertown line in a $17.4 million deal with UMass Amherst. But as Mayor Jeannette McCarthy explores options for the Beaver Street property, officials at the Waltham Fields Community Farm, which has tended to the land for nearly 30 years, say they’re at risk of losing not only land, but also the crop they donate to hunger relief organizations and educational programs, writes John Hilliard of The Boston Globe.
Civil rights complaint begs state to investigation Plymouth ICE facility
Legal advocates have called on Massachusetts authorities to launch an investigation into alleged civil rights violations against immigrants detained at the Plymouth County Correctional Facility, writes GBH’s Tori Bedford. A civil rights complaint filed with Attorney General Andrea Campbell’s office Thursday details obstacles created by the prison to block communication between detainees and legal advocates, often resulting in severe consequences for immigrants seeking legal recourse.
Cleared: Judge finds Nantucket board did not violate civil rights of residents
A Superior Court judge has thrown out a lawsuit that claimed the Nantucket Select Board and other top officials violated the civil rights of residents who tried to speak out as the board investigated the 2018 vandalization of the island’s African Meeting House. Jason Graziadei of the Nantucket Current reports lawyers for the plaintiffs in the case may seek an appeal to the state’s top court.
Vox populi: New Bedford council wants input on rent control
New Bedford may join the list of Bay State cities pursuing local rent control policies, but first the city council wants to ask residents to weigh in on the idea. The New Bedford Light’s Arthur Hirsh reports a cap on rent hikes will be among a package of non-binding referenda to be put before voters in November.
Keep it going: Worcester explores ways to keep bus service free
With pandemic relief funds that have enabled the Worcester Regional Transit Authority to offer fare-free rides on its buses soon to run out, officials are looking for ways to keep the free rides going. And the Telegram’s Jeff Chamer reports one possible source being considered is the Fair Share Amendment tax revenue being set aside for transportation initiatives.
Jobs in Massachusetts back to pre-pandemic levels
It’s like it never happened. The total number of people employed in Massachusetts finally returned to pre-Covid pandemic levels in January. Chris Lisinski of State House News Service reports 3.74 million people are on state payrolls, essentially where they were in March of 2020.
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