Catherine Tang (MAUD '12) worked with A Better City (ABC), an independent, membership-based, non-profit organization that works to improve the economic competitiveness and quality of life of the Boston region by advancing significant transportation, land development, and environmental policies, projects, and initiatives.
While at ABC, Catherine participated in and contributed to the Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) appointed by Secretary of Transportation Jeff Mullan under the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) by helping to coordinate and research best practice solutions to help inform internal policy decisions. More specifically, Catherine focused on the state's commuter rail system by analyzing its current conditions and shortcomings in light of the upcoming contract expiration in 2013 with its private concessionaire, and how MassDOT and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) may take such an opportunity to make the critical decisions needed in the financing of and investment of the state's capital transportation infrastructure.
As a means to raise awareness on the significance of the issue, the analysis and research was presented to MassDOT and MBTA leaders as a white paper to ensure that the proper steps towards structuring the best possible strategy for the system are being taken into serious consideration. Touching upon all aspects of transportation — ridership, operational performance, infrastructure maintenance, system span and land use, budget constraints, contractual legalities, labor workforce, and public private partnerships — the white paper will also serve as the basis for a public discussion panel to be held in November 2011 hosted by ABC and featuring invited MassDOT leaders and other transportation professionals from across the nation to discuss the issues before the MBTA must engage in the procurement process for a new commuter rail concessionaire.