November 23, 2022

Commonwealth Magazine

The MBTA has extended the contract of the manager overseeing the Green Line extension to Somerville and Medford until mid-2023.

The move appears designed to keep John Dalton under contract during the next change of administration so that he can be redeployed on another project or mission if that is what Governor-elect Maura Healey decides to do.

Dalton is the highest paid MBTA employee, with a base salary of $299,000 plus a 16% “annual achievement bonus”. His initial five-year contract was extended in 2021 until the end of 2022, giving him time to complete the Green Line extension. The last branch of the Green Line extension to Medford is due to open on December 12.

The latest contract extension, on the same terms as Dalton’s initial contract and extension, will last another six months. T’s spokeswoman Lisa Battiston said in an email that the latest extension “does not necessarily mean that John will stay on for the full six months.” She declined any further comment.

John Dalton was hired to oversee the Green Line extension.

Dalton in the past has expressed interest to move on to another project at the T after the completion of the green line extension. He was recruited from Chicago at a time when there was great skepticism about the T’s ability to pull off big plans. The cost of extending the Green Line had risen from $2 billion to over $3 billion and there was talk of simply canceling the project. But T officials, with the help of consultants, reduced the cost to $2.3 billion and brought in Dalton to oversee a team to oversee the project.

Dalton and his team stabilized the project and guided it to completion throughout the coronavirus pandemic, although there were a number of missed deadlines. Many believe that the approach used by the T to oversee the construction of the Green Line extension is a model for future major projects. The South Coast Rail project at Fall River and New Bedford used a similar approach.

BRUCE MOHL

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