Taxpayer funds are a key part in sustaining public services and our overall government. Our democracy is responsible for government oversight and ensuring the process of checks and balances works. But with some entities operating in both the public and private sectors, many quasi-government entities opt for the secrecy afforded to private companies.
While the 2016 reforms to Massachusetts Public Records Law brought some key changes, such as a cap on copying fees and agency response times, Bay State requesters can still face hefty financial barriers to getting their records.
Financed in major part with state funds and crucial to the economic viability of the area, the MBTA’s centrality to life in a major East Coast hub makes it a crucial subject for information updates. Of course, don’t be surprised that getting records from them can also be a pain.
In the Bay State, the grotesque black holes of bureaucracy sometimes take on an added Groundhog Day-esque tint. Like when your request is rejected. But you win your appeal. And then your request is rejected again.
MuckRock worked with the Pioneer Institute to get a copy of the contract between the MBTA and Keolis. Since the snow – and the scrutiny – hit, we’ve been reading over to see what sort of glaring policy missteps we can find, but it’s simply too big a job for us to do on our own.
Austin Horowitz sent this request to the Greater Attleboro-Taunton Regional Transit Authority of Massachusetts