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Keller @ Large: New MBTA GM Talks T Issues

BOSTON (CBS) -- There may be no other state agency under as much scrutiny and pressure as the MBTA, with its service and expansion issues, rising fares, and the ongoing funding crisis.

The newly-appointed general manager of the MBTA, Brian Shortsleeve, sat down with WBZ political analyst Jon Keller this week to talk about his plans for dealing with some of those issues. Shortsleeve, a former Marine and previously the MBTA's first Chief Administrator, took over from Frank DePaola July 1, after DePaola retired due to health concerns.

Read: MBTA Fare Increases: What You Need To Know

Keller and Shortsleeve discussed the recent proposal from the Boston Carmen's Union, which would take pay cuts for new workers in exchange for contract extensions and abandon Governor Charlie Baker's T privatization plan. Shortsleeve said it was unlikely that the organization would concede much on privatization, but praised the union for their wage efforts

"We've had a very constructive dialogue with the Carmen's Union over the past six months, and I want to commend them for stepping forward with wage concessions," said Shortsleeve. "We believe that significant wage concessions are a really critical part of getting the T on track financially."

Read: Fare Evader Apologizes, Pays Hundreds Back To MBTA

With the recent revelations that the cost of the Green Line extension and the South Coast Commuter Rail project had been severely underestimated, Keller asked Shortsleeve what was wrong with the planning process at the MBTA.

"In both the case of the Green Line extension and the South Coast rail, what we've done is taken a fresh look," said Shortsleeve. "We've tried to bring fresh eyes to the table, and in both cases, we've found big cost overruns."

He said the overruns came from permitting and construction time.

Keller and Shortsleeve also discussed the T's recent fare hikes, and what to expect concerning MBTA fares over the coming years.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.

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