Recently, Mayor Marty Walsh sat down with the Boston Globe for a wide-ranging interview about his first-term in office and what he sees as the most pressing issues facing the city. At the top of his list was his opposition to privatizing public transit. Below is the portion of the interview that focused on his opposition to privatization.
As part of the push to fix the MBTA’s financial outlook, the state transit agency’s management has pushed to outsource certain union jobs to the private sector.
But Walsh, whose connections to labor were vital to his election, said that privatization won’t fix the T.
“Privatization doesn’t work,” Walsh said. “Anytime you look at a privatization, in the short term when the first contract goes out, there might be a savings there. And then when the second contract goes out, it’s right back up. The costs go right back up.”
Established by Gov. Charlie Baker, the T’s control board has seemed interested in cutting costs by privatizing functions like the “money room,” which is tasked with counting the fares collected at gates.
“I know that the money room has gone up recently,” Walsh said. “Let’s revisit the money room in three years and see how that’s working out for people.”
The Carmen’s Union, which represents thousands of MBTA employees, has pushed back on the privatization effort and questioned whether it will indeed bring savings. Similarly, Walsh said he did not have high hopes for the privatization effort.
“You can’t regulate yourself by privatization,” Walsh said. “You can’t reform yourself—that’s a better word—by privatization. It just doesn’t work.”