Boston Chamber slams MBTA over 2023 business address


“We can have the best business environment in the world, but what’s the point if commuters can’t get to work?”

Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce President and CEO James E. Rooney speaks at the organization’s 2022 conference. Looney’s 2023 Business Outlook speech addressed the MBTA’s recent security and financial concerns. Barry Chin / Global Staff

The Chamber of Commerce of Greater Boston criticized the MBTA in its annual Business Outlook speech and called for a number of reforms from the NSW government.

During a live broadcast Tuesday, Chamber President and CEO James Rooney called the MBTA an “underinvested and poorly managed transportation system” that creates problems for employers and employees.

“We can have the best business environment in the world, but what’s the point if commuters can’t get to work?”

To prepare for future safety concerns and closures, Looney supports Gov. Healy’s move to hire an experienced general manager and C-Suite safety position. But the chamber and the new government have another deal to strike.

Looney said the Chamber will continue to advocate for the Liquidity Pricing Commission, which will develop a long-term plan for transportation financing. The proposal has passed the Legislature twice, but still needs the governor’s signature, he said.

Opponents of liquidity pricing argue that the move could increase tolls during peak times of the day and in more congested areas.

The Chamber criticized regional transit, saying it was “probably time” to separate commuter rail from the MBTA to focus on statewide connection operations and contract management.

This isn’t the first time the chamber has taken aim at the MBTA — last summer, Looney called for increased federal oversight after a safety incident, noting employees’ distrust of T.T.

“It is unacceptable that commuters are choosing between nationally leading – indeed world leading – highway congestion or nationally leading public transport safety incidents,” Rooney said.

In a statement to, a spokesperson for the MBTA referred to the agency’s recent safety reviews and initiatives.

“Safety has been and will continue to be the number one priority for the MBTA, which recognizes that providing first-class transportation service is critical to a prosperous region…MBTA is committed to continued investment to prioritize safety and modernize the system , improve reliability, and create a thriving region for the communities T serves.”

Looney’s speech also touched on taxes for millionaires, high housing costs and a partnership with the Boston Public Schools.

The Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce represents more than 1,000 employers and hundreds of thousands of employees.

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