The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority last week approved ­Richard Davey as general manager of the state’s largest mass-transit system.

Along with overseeing the MBTA’s day to day operations, Davey will serve as rail and transit administrator of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. In that post, he will manage the state’s 15 regional transit authorities and the freight and passenger rail program.

MassDOT includes all surface transportation agencies and departments in the state, including the former Department of Highways and the former Massachusetts Turnpike Authority. The MBTA also falls within MassDOT’s umbrella.

“Rich’s commitment to customer service and safety, combined with his no-nonsense leadership style, is exactly what we need to keep the MBTA moving forward,” Gov. Deval Patrick.

Davey is currently general manager of the Massachusetts Bay Commuter Railroad, a private company that operates the MBTA’s commuter rail service. He will replace acting transit administrator and MBTA general manager William Mitchell, who will return to his previous position as agency’s general counsel.

The authority, which oversees public transportation throughout the greater ­Boston area, has $5.5 billion of outstanding debt. It will fill a $73 million fiscal 2011 deficit by restructuring $68 million of principal payments due in fiscal 2011. Even after the restructuring, officials expect debt service to total $387 million, 24% of the $1.62 billion budget.

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