- Associated Press - Friday, May 8, 2015

BOSTON (AP) - Gov. Charlie Baker named five members to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s board of directors on Friday.

The new board, which includes state Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack - also a Baker appointee - will oversee operations at the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, the Registry of Motor Vehicles and other transportation departments.

Baker still needs to name a seventh and final member to the board. He’s yet to say who will serve as chairman.

“From the Registry to our highways, this group is tasked with enormous responsibility,” Baker said in a written statement.

The move comes just weeks after the prior board agreed to step down, clearing the way for Baker to assume control of the board and the beleaguered Boston area public transit system.

Baker ultimately wants to expand the board to 11 members.

Last month Baker filed a bill that would create a separate control board to oversee MBTA operations and finances through 2018.

Many of the recommendations in the bill were taken from a report by a special panel named by Baker to review the problems at the MBTA, which oversees subway, bus and commuter rail service in the metropolitan Boston region.

The panel recommended appointing a new DOT board, expanding it to 11 members, and establishing a fiscal control board.

The bill is currently being considered by state lawmakers.

Baker’s attempt to consolidate control over the MBTA follows one of the worst winters in Boston history. The city set an all-time snowfall record, receiving more than nine feet of snow, much of it in February. The transit systems experienced shutdowns and long service delays.

“I look forward to this new board expanding and working alongside our proposed Fiscal Management and Control Board as we strive to do better than the status quo with our transit systems which left riders stranded and tax dollars squandered,” Baker added.

The new board members include Ruth Bonsignore, Brian Lang, Steve Poftak and Betsy Taylor and Dominic Blue, who served on the prior board.

Bonsignore has three decades of consulting experience in transportation planning and design most recently served as senior vice president at the Massachusetts-based consulting firm VHB/Vanasse Hangen Brustlin. Lang is president of UNITE HERE Local 26, Boston’s hotel and food service union and has spent 17 years representing the union’s 7,000 members.

Poftak is executive director of the Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston at the Harvard Kennedy School and was the longtime director of the Pioneer Institute’s Centers for Better Government and Economic Opportunity.

Taylor is finance director the Massachusetts Port Authority and has worked in budgeting, financial planning, treasury management, and project financing for 35 years.

Besides serving on the prior board, Blue is the Vice President and Assistant General Counsel at Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company.


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