Statement from Somerville Mayor Katjana Ballantyne Regarding the FTA MBTA Report:

“The FTA report is an important wake-up call for our Commonwealth. Massachusetts needs a world-class public transit system. Good public transit is a benefit to everyone in the region because it has the potential to touch so many people in positive ways. It’s good for economic justice, environmental justice, and racial justice.

The FTA report shines a bright light on the need for independent and interlocking levels of MBTA oversight. It is clear that Massachusetts has not effectively used all the tools in the box. The FTA report rightly identifies the state DPU as an oversight entity that needs greater technical capacity and independent authority. I would also argue that the Auditor’s office and municipalities can play a greater role in MBTA governance and oversight—we are crucial stakeholders and partners.

As I’ve consistently said, public transit requires sustained and predictable funding. Drastic cuts in the MBTA’s operating budget have contributed to the workforce being hollowed out. A stretched, fatigued workforce is not a recipe for critical safety, maintenance, and state-of-good repair activities.

But maintenance is the bare minimum—we need a world-class system. One that is safe, reliable, and affordable. We need a world-class vision for the system that understands it is an economic driver for our region. We haven’t gotten it right yet, and as a daily T rider, I understand firsthand the importance of a safe and reliable T. I’m optimistic that this will be an opportunity to create the public transit system riders deserve. And, I believe it needs to be a priority for the next Administration.”

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