• Aging Mattapan trolley future uncertain

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    MATTAPAN, Mass. - The future of the historic Mattapan trolley line is uncertain, and many riders are unhappy with the possible replacement.   

    The MBTA said the depression-era cars are old and at the end of their life and has begun discussing what’s next for the Mattapan-Ashmont line. When the possibility for a bus came up, some riders and elected officials decided to speak up. 

    "We save time. We save money. It's much longer if we take the bus,” said Giovanni Burdeno.

    Burdeno depends on the trolley, along with more than an estimated 2,000 others who take it from Mattapan, through Milton, to Ashmont, and back daily. 

    "It's quick. It get us here like in less than 10 minutes we're here from Ashmont. So with the bus, we got the lights, the traffic,” said rider Curtis Henderson.

    The MBTA said the 10 depression-era cars are at the end of their life, and keeping them on the track is costly. They said maintenance crews sometimes have to reach out to railroad museums for parts when they break down. 

    "The cars themselves, which are about 80 years in age, will not last forever,” said MBTA General Manager Frank Depaola.

    Last week State Rep. Dan Cullinane wrote a letter to the fiscal control board, signed by more than a half dozen other elected officials, asking them to approve a $3 million appropriation to fund the Mattapan Trolley.

    "We do not believe it to be in the best interest of the communities and residents we represent to have the trolley line converted to a shuttle bus system,” wrote Cullinane.

    Depaola would not confirm that $3 million number, but said the agency did ask the board for funds toward the maintenance of the line in its capital investment plan. 

    "In the short term, we're going to do the physical work we need to do to extend the life of the existing trolley cars. We have to look at the feasibility of what type of vehicle goes forward whether it be trolley of something else,” he said.

    The fiscal control board will vote on the capital investment plan in May. 

    Meantime, Depaola told FOX25’s Crystal Haynes that the board is waiting on an engineer's report due this summer to make any final decisions on the trolleys, and said the public will be invited to comment. 

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