MBTA: Without New Funding, Expect More Frozen Delays

By Sarah Birnbaum

Apr. 13, 2011

The MBTA's Green Line stop at Longwood Medical Center is seen during the Jan. 11, 2011 blizzard. (lennartluxlucis/Flickr)

BOSTON — Back in February, a train going from Boston to Worcester broke down on the tracks during the evening commute. A trip that should have taken less than an hour and a half lasted for four hours. 

On Tuesday, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority and the company that runs its commuter rail service were grilled on that and on the hundreds of other delays that plagued the system in recent months. 

They said causes included frozen railroad switches and above all, an aging train fleet. 

Massachusetts Transportation Secretary Jeff Mullan says the MBTA is taking steps to improve service, investing millions of dollars in equipment upgrades and purchasing 20 new trains.
“We are continuing our efforts that began over two years ago to make critical long delayed investments in new infrastructure that have been neglected for over a decade,” Mullan said.  

Still, Mullan says there’s a chronic problem: “Mr. Chairman, we don’t have enough money,” Mullan said. 
MBTA officials estimate that they need about $250 million dollars more every year to make critical repairs. Until then, they say, many necessary upgrades will continue to go unfunded.

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