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MBTA GM Named New Mass. Transportation Secretary

Gov. Deval Patrick on Thursday named MBTA General Manager Richard Davey the next head of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.

Davey will take over the position on Sept. 1, replacing Jeffrey Mullan, who has been talking about leaving his post for "personal" reasons. Mullan said he will return to private law.

Mullan was the first head of MassDOT following the reorganization of the agency to include the Turnpike Authority and the T.

"I'm proud to have been part of breaking down the silos in transportation that have plagued us," he said at a news conference with Patrick and Davey Thursday.

Mullan is leaving after having drawn criticism this year for his handling of a fallen light fixture in one of the Big Dig tunnels. Mullan said he is not stepping down because of the controversy. That issue has already cost two other DOT officials their jobs.

The 38-year-old Davey has held the T's top position since March 2010.

Brian Kane, of the MBTA Advisory Board, which provides public oversight of the T, says Davey is a good choice for the DOT job.

"He's made a lot of good moves, he's made a lot of positive change," Kane said. "The budget challenges that he faced as GM at the T will certainly prepare him for the budgetary challenges he will face as the next secretary of transportation."

"Sometimes when you go in to reform a bureaucracy as big as our transportation system, it does take a toll," said Rep. William Straus, co-chair of the Joint Committee on Transportation. "But with Rich Davey, I know we've got somebody who's got day-to day experience with one of the most difficult-to-manage parts of our system."

Material from The Associated Press was used this report.

This program aired on August 4, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

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