SECTION 1: Subsection (a) of section 12 of chapter 159 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2020 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking the subsection in its entirety and inserting in its place the following subsection:-
(a) The transportation or carriage of persons or property, or both, between points within the commonwealth by railroads, street railways, in this chapter called railways, electric railroads, and trackless trolleys, including express service and car service carried on, upon or rendered in connection with such railroads, railways, electric railroads, or trackless trolleys.
SECTION 2: Chapter 161A of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2020 Official Edition is hereby amended by inserting the following section:-
Section 7B (a) The chief safety officer (CSO) within the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) shall immediately notify the inspector general in writing of the existence of a documented critical disagreement between the CSO and the secretary of transportation, the MBTA general manager, deputy general manager, or the MBTA board of directors or an individual member thereof concerning an investigation, audit, or review. For the purposes of this section, a documented critical disagreement includes a disagreement involving the scope, manner, necessity, or thoroughness of an investigation, audit, or review. Failure of a party to comply with the good faith requests of the CSO shall constitute a documented critical disagreement. The writing shall contain: i) a summary of the investigation, audit, or review; ii) the nature of the disagreement between the CSO and the secretary, the general manager, the deputy general manager, or the board or an individual member thereof; iii) whether the matter under review presents a public safety risk, and if so, describe the nature of that risk; and iv) the CSO’s proposed recommendations, if any. Notification provided to the inspector general shall not be cause for dismissal or other retaliatory action taken against the CSO or any other person employed within the MBTA.
(b) The general manager shall not initiate termination proceedings against the chief safety officer without first producing and filing with the inspector general written findings demonstrating gross misconduct on the part of the chief safety officer. Termination of the chief safety officer shall not take effect without the consent of the inspector general and a ratification of the written findings by the MBTA board of directors.
SECTION 3: (a) For the purposes of this section, the following words shall, unless the context otherwise requires, have the following meanings: -
“Commuter rail”, transportation of passengers by rail in metropolitan and suburban areas on a regularly scheduled daily timetable, generally originating or terminating in the city of Boston, offering a variety of fare media generally based on distance travelled across specified price zones. Commuter rail shall not include transportation of passengers by rail to, from, and between the following rail stations: Newmarket; Uphams Corner; Four Corners/Geneva; Talbot Avenue; Morton Street; Blue Hill Avenue; Fairmount; and Readville, otherwise known as the Fairmount Line.
“Passenger rail”, transportation of passengers by rail between metropolitan areas within the commonwealth, not including commuter rail. Passenger rail shall not include heavy rail and light rail rapid transit services provided by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority.
(b) The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority shall assign and transfer to the rail and transit division of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation all rights, title, interests, and obligations in the operating agreement with Keolis Commuter Services to provide commuter rail service.
(c) The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority shall make an inventory of all commuter rail assets, and shall transfer all such assets to the rail and transit division of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.
(d) Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the rail and transit division of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation established by Chapter 6C of the General Laws, shall be the exclusive operator of commuter rail and passenger rail service in the commonwealth; provided that the rail and transit division may contract with private operators or the National Railroad Passenger Corporation for the provision of such service.
SECTION 4: Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the secretary of transportation who shall serve as chair, the chair of the commonwealth utilities commission, the director of the transportation division of the Department of Public Utilities, the general manager of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, the inspector general, the speaker and the minority leader of the House of Representatives, the president and the minority leader of the Senate or their respective designees shall convene a working group to produce a proposal and framework necessary to transfer state safety oversight of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority from the Department of Public Utilities to the Office of the Inspector General, or in the alternative identify another suitable entity capable of assuming said state safety oversight. The working group shall consult with and seek the guidance of the Federal Transit Administration while developing the proposal. The proposal shall include at a minimum: i) identification of an entity suitable to assume responsibility for the oversight of safety at the MBTA with a clear mission statement detailing the entity’s responsibilities and obligations; ii) staffing and human resource plans to ensure the state safety oversight agency is adequately staffed and equipped to handle its oversight responsibilities as specified by federal regulation; iii) proposed regulations necessary to permit the state safety oversight agency to fulfill its obligations; iv) recommendations for legislative language necessary to create the entity or facilitate transfer of responsibilities; v) a proposed budget; and vi) a plan to seek federal certification and approval of the proposed transfer of state safety oversight agency responsibilities from the Department of Public Utilities to the selected entity. The working group shall be supported by staff from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.
The working group shall file its proposal with the clerks of the house and senate, the house and senate committees on ways and means, and the joint committee on transportation no later than January 1, 2024 and such proposal shall be published on the department of transportation’s website.
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