As MBTA Wrestles With Problems, GM Still Feels He's Right Leader for the Job

Frustration with the T has reached a point where some on Beacon Hill are calling for MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak to resign

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There were train horns and smiles as the MBTA broke ground Thursday on a new Commuter Rail station in Winchester. It was a bit of good news as the T continues to wrestle with a series of problems.

The Federal Transit Administration recently ordered the MBTA to deal with four safety issues immediately, and its final report is due at the end of August.

"They have concluded at least what was the formal groundwork but they have also reserved the right to come back and do additional site inspections," MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak said Thursday, after speaking with the federal agency.

One of the major problems facing the T is staffing. Poftak says its not a question of money, since the positions are in the budget.

"We would love to spend this money. We just simply can't get enough people through the door," Poftak said.

Frustration with the T has reached a point where some on Beacon Hill are calling for Poftak to resign. Poftak said Thursday he feels he is still the right man for the job.

"I feel that I am equipped to lead this organization," he said. "I understand what needs to be done. If there's other voices, they are entitled to their opinion. If I thought that my departure would make the T safer, I would do it, but I don't think it will."

Riders are getting fed up. Poftak said he understand, and that the agency is working on fixes.

"I thank them for their patience," Poftak said. "I know how frustrating it is. I take the T on a regular basis."

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