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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

T stands for turmoil

When the folks who run the MBTA can't agree on the most pressing needs, what are we supposed to do?

The Globe's closer look at the D'Allesandro report -- and the conflicting responses of T management to the seriousness of the problems -- also reveals the rot within the operating structure of the agency.

The Globe highlights the problems better than I ever could:

These are among the 51 unfunded Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority projects, categorized by the agency itself as dangers to “life and limb,’’ that were referred to in an alarming independent review last month but never publicly listed or explained.

A Globe review of the specific projects, obtained through a public records request, reveals numerous potential hazards as a result of inadequate funding in a system where many cables, signals, and other pieces of equipment have been in service well beyond their recommended life span.

But the agency, whose own staff previously ranked the projects as essential, now says some are not as urgent as once suggested. And following the release of the report, the agency said 10 of the projects would be funded from either the yearly operating budget or federal grants. William A. Mitchell Jr., the interim general manager, said last week that all pieces of the transit system identified in the review by former John Hancock chairman David F. D’Alessandro have been addressed or monitored and are in at least “stable condition.’’

Why should we plunk down our hard-earned money for bus, subway or commuter rail when we can't be assured of a safe ride -- or even the small comfort that the system's "managers" have the problems under control?

Maybe the Legislature can pull out some of that cash for the probation department and ship it over to the T?



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