A brand-new board tasked with overseeing the MBTA and its transit service across the region has its first official member: Quincy Mayor Thomas Koch.
The MBTA Advisory Board, an independent organization that represents the 176 cities and towns that steer tax dollars toward the transit agency, voted Tuesday to name Koch as its choice to fill a seat on the T's governing body.
First elected mayor in 2007, Koch — whose city is home to four stops on the Red Line, a commuter rail stop, multiple bus routes and an in-design bus maintenance facility — has served as chairman of the standalone MBTA Advisory Board for the last decade. He pledged Tuesday to visit each MBTA community over the next six months and learn more about facility conditions and the needs facing cities and towns with T service.
"The MBTA Advisory Board has fought hard to get (a) seat at the governance table and is excited to have Mayor Koch as our first representative," the group's executive director, Brian Kane, said in a statement.
Fellow municipal leaders including Newton Mayor Ruthanne Fuller and Revere Mayor Brian Arrigo praised Koch's appointment, with Fuller saying it would give "cities and towns a strong and effective voice in MBTA decision-making."
Koch becomes the first person named to the seven-member MBTA board of directors created in a law Gov. Charlie Baker signed on July 29, which empowered the Advisory Board to appoint one member directly. The T has been without a dedicated governing body since lawmakers allowed the Fiscal and Management Control Board to expire at the end of June.
The secretary of transportation will also serve on the board, and Baker will select the other five members. One of those five must come from a trio of nominees the Massachusetts AFL-CIO sent Baker last week, which include: Robert Butler of Braintree, Northeast regional council president for the Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation Workers union; Craig Hughes of Wilmington, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers' Grand Lodge representative for the eastern territory; and Darlene Lombos of Boston, executive secretary-treasurer of the Greater Boston Labor Council.
In a letter to Gov. Charlie Baker, Massachusetts AFL-CIO President Steven Tolman said all three nominees "represent the Labor Movement's values and members who rely on the Commonwealth having a safe, reliable and equitable public transportation system."