MBTA Board Meets to Address Safety Issues Raised by Feds

The Federal Transit Administration demanded immediate changes to address glaring safety issues in a report released last week

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The MBTA's board of directors is meeting Thursday for the first time since the release of a scathing federal report.

The virtual meeting was scheduled to get underway at 10 a.m.



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The Federal Transit Administration demanded immediate changes to address glaring safety issues in a report released last week. Those issues included a pattern of crashes, derailments, speeding and signal issues.

The federal agency began investigating the MBTA in April after a recent death and several incidents that caused injuries. The directives issued by the FTA require the MBTA and the state Department of Public Utilities to collaborate on fixing the issues and improve the culture of safety at the MBTA.

"Safety is our number one priority and must be the primary focus for the MBTA and the DPU," FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez said in a statement last week. "Every transit passenger deserves a safe ride. Every transit worker deserves a safe workplace. The MBTA must immediately take action to improve its safety procedures for its passengers and workers."

The MBTA said it has been fully engaged with the FTA during its inspection and work is underway to address the issues that were flagged.

Massachusetts lawmakers announced last week that they are planning to hold hearings in July to discuss the report and learn more about the T's operations and management.

"The FTA's findings and the MBTA's subsequent service cuts don't inspire any public confidence in our transit system," House Speaker Ron Mariano and Senate President Karen Spilka said in a joint statement earlier this week. "Since 2015, at his request, Governor Baker has had control of the MBTA. It has since been the Administration's responsibility to keep up with maintenance and manage an efficient system that customers can rely on. Given the FTA's interim findings and alarming directives, there is an increased need to better understand the agency's shortcomings and help restore public confidence. Therefore, we will work with the Joint Committee on Transportation to conduct such a hearing in the coming weeks."

Stacy Thompson, with LivableStreets Alliance, says the T is being overly cautious in this case, taking all of the new Orange and Red line trains off the tracks due to a battery issue.

Gov. Charlie Baker and his appointees control the public transit agency and the governor has pointed to historic increases in capital spending at the T while swatting away calls for new operating revenues at the agency. The House in 2020 approved a transportation revenue proposal but it died without a vote in the Senate, and the transportation revenue debate has not revved back up since then.

Baker and Congressman Richard Neal have called for the creation of a new public authority to overseeing the service expansion.

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