The MBTA has extended until mid-2023 the contract of the manager overseeing the Green Line extension into Somerville and Medford.
The move appears designed to keep John Dalton under contract during the upcoming change in administrations so that he can be redeployed on another project or assignment if that’s what Gov.-elect Maura Healey decides to do.
Dalton is the highest paid employee at the MBTA, making base pay of $299,000 plus an “annual success bonus” of 16 percent. His original five-year contract was extended in 2021 until the end of 2022, giving him time to finish the Green Line extension. The final branch of the Green Line extension to Medford is scheduled to open December 12.
The latest contract extension, on the same terms as Dalton’s original contract and extension, will run for another six months. T spokeswoman Lisa Battiston said in an email that the latest extension “doesn’t necessarily mean John will stay the full six months.” She declined further comment.
Dalton in the past has expressed interest in moving on to another project at the T after the Green Line extension is completed. He was recruited from Chicago at a time when there was great skepticism about the T’s ability to complete large projects. The cost of the Green Line extension had ballooned from $2 billion to more than $3 billion and there was talk of just canceling the project. But T officials, with the help of consultants, pared the cost back to $2.3 billion and brought in Dalton to oversee a team to oversee the project.
Dalton and his team steadied the project and guided it to completion through the coronavirus pandemic, although there have been a number of missed deadlines. Many believe the approach the T used in overseeing construction of the Green Line extension is a template for future major projects. The South Coast Rail project to Fall River and New Bedford has used a similar approach.
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