MA lawmakers pass $400 million safety proposal for MBTA

BOSTON — Massachusetts state lawmakers just passed an $11 billion infrastructure bond bill, which includes extra funding to address some of the safety issues on the MBTA.

“The derailments, the fires, the most recent Orange line fire actually occurred in the Somerville, part of my district, it’s all been absolutely horrifying,” said Rep. Mike Connolly.

After some concerning incidents on the T, Rep. William Straus encouraged his colleagues to pass the bill.

Rep. Connolly says he’s glad the House and Senate passed the transportation and climate bill Sunday night, which will include an additional $400 million to invest in safety changes for the MBTA.

“This goes above and beyond the standard mechanisms for funding the T,” said Rep. Connolly.

The concern comes after an alarming report from the Federal Transit Administration in May, which found staffing shortages to be a safety issue.

As of this weekend, the FTA also started requiring new safety training for T employees after there were a few runaway trains over the last couple months.

“It can’t hurt to do retraining, it can’t hurt to refresh everything, to improve it to make sure everything’s safe, that’s very important but for me, I’ve never had a problem,” said Lianne, who rides the T every day.

Some have no issue riding the T daily, but for others, these recent incidents were pretty scary - from runaway trains to derailments and the fire on the Orange line less than 2 weeks ago.

“It was very concerning seeing the footage on the news,” said Vince McManus, who rides the T daily. “We did not want to imagine ourselves being in that type of situation, so I would say yes, some improvements are needed.”

Along with the additional funding in this bill to improve the T, Rep. Connolly says they’ll also require the MBTA to report any safety issues online and to the Inspector General’s office.

“With the language added to this bill, it spells out in very clear detail that these safety concerns need to be reported,” said Rep. Connolly.

Now that this bill passed both the Senate and House, it’ll still need approval from the governor within the next ten days.

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