Mayor Walsh On MBTA Issues: No Overnight Fix

BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — After a morning that saw major delays on the MBTA Commuter Rail and issues on the Red, Green, Blue, and Orange Lines, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh told WBZ NewsRadio he doesn't see an overnight fix for the beleaguered transit system.

"There's investments being made, and unfortunately, it's going to take time to move forward," Walsh said. "It's not what people want to hear, but I can't say to people that it can be fixed overnight with the snap of the fingers."

Walsh said that, until those investments started paying off, he would continue to work with T officials and to put the pressure on the MBTA to do the work to improve. The Mayor has been advocating for Boston to have its own dedicated seat on the MBTA board, but ultimately, that decision falls on Gov. Charlie Baker and the state government, and not on Walsh.

“What we can do, my transportation department, is work with the MBTA, Steve Poftak, on a daily basis to try and continue to move the MBTA forward and cut down on any type of delays that are out there," he said. "But, unfortunately, I think for the foreseeable future, we’re going to still see these delays. I’m not saying people should accept them."

Shortly before 7 a.m. Tuesday, a disabled Commuter Rail train had to be pushed off the tracks on the Framingham Line by a train from the Worcester Line, leaving residual delays on both lines well into the middle of the day.

In addition, each MBTA line aside from the Silver Line saw delays due to mechanical problems. There were 15-minute delays on the Red Line because of a train with a mechanical problem at Andrew Station, 10-minute delays on the Blue Line because of a signal problem near Orient Heights, 10-minute delays because of a mechanical problem on a train near Jackson Square, and 25-minute delays on the Green Line's D Branch because a train near Woodland had a mechanical issue.

The transit agency has had a rough several months, after a major Red Line derailment knocked out signal equipment last June, leaving that line in disarray through the summer. Riders also had to deal with service disruptions on several lines over the past several months, as stations and equipment were upgraded; Gov. Baker requested an extra $50 million on top of an existing $8 billion MBTA investment plan in order to speed those repairs along.

Now, Gov. Baker is proposing an $18 billion transportation bond bill that would include improvements for the MBTA.

Walsh said the state legislature is looking to take up that bond bill "in the next couple weeks," and that it should be some reassurance to riders.

"When the bond bill gets taken, it’s not going to immediately fix the MBTA or public transit," he said. "But, at least we know there’s dollars, dedicated dollars coming to make improvements on the T.”

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(Photo: Getty Images)

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