A Massachusetts congressman who serves on the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure says he is in favor of federal authorities taking more direct control over the troubled MBTA.
Rep. Stephen Lynch, a Democrat whose district includes part of Boston, spoke about the issue with WCVB’s Sharman Sacchetti and Ed Harding during an interview for Sunday’s episode of On The Record.
The interview was conducted as Massachusetts awaits the results of a Federal Transit Administration safety management inspection launched earlier this year. It’s only the second probe of its kind ever pursued by the FTA.
In May, when theFTA announced its review, the agency wrote in a letter that it was extremely concerned about “the pattern of safety incidents,” citing “derailments, train collisions, grade crossing fatalities, and incidents that have endangered both MBTA employees and its passengers.”
Sacchetti asked Lynch if he supported federal oversight of the MBTA that would last beyond the scope of the current probe.
“I actually asked the FTA if there was some type of quasi-receivership process they might use to come in and exercise the powers you just alluded to,” Lynch said.
“You’re advocating for receivership?” Sacchetti asked. “Oh, absolutely.” “How come?” “Because there are 900 vacancies on the MBTA,” Lynch said.
According to Lynch, the FTA told him they would prefer to work in partnership with the MBTA.
Staffing played a significant role in the directives already issued by the FTA. That included improving staffing at the Operations Control Center, which dispatches subway trains. MBTA officials were forced toslash subway serviceuntil staffing can be improved.
The MBTA is heavily advertising itsjob openingsand offering sign-on bonuses.