Rep. Birmingham, in his first year as Democratic House floor leader, was instrumental in brokering compromise legislation on the future of the Boston Elevated, the Boston Herald reported (June 8, 1929, p. 1, 2).
Birmingham, who was a member of the conference committee that hammered out the compromise, committed himself to ensure the measure’s passage, the paper reported.
The compromise, which was pushed by Gov. Allen, dropped the requirement that public control be ended in 1932 and added a provision setting up a metropolitan transportation district in an amendment. The transit district would be managed by a board of five trustees, four appointed by the governor and one by the mayor of Boston.
The district would take over the existing structures of the Boston Elevated, subways, tunnels, and other property with takeover to be funded by a bond issue. The Boston mayor and city council would have to approve the takeover of the Boston subways, and the Cambridge tunnel would not be handed over by the state until the Boston subways had been taken over.
In addition, the measure called for a non-binding public referendum on the future of the Boston Elevated in the form of three proposals: one would return it to private management, one would maintain public control under private ownership, and a third would transfer it to public ownership.
In addition, rapid transit extensions would be decided by the legislature instead of the metropolitan transit district council, according to the bill.
The measure would set up a transit council made up of mayors and board of selectmen chairmen, with each community having one vote for every $100 million of valuation represented in the community.
The rapid transit extensions would be built by a newly created transit department made up of three members, one to be named by the governor and two by the Boston mayor. The department would replace the current Boston transit board.
The bill also calls for the Boston Elevated to negotiate with the Eastern Massachusetts Street Railway Company to buy their lines in Chelsea and Revere.