Tools to boost Democrats and take on Governor Baker and his Republican allies.
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Charlie Baker spent years ignoring public transportation. Now, the MBTA is *literally* crumbling.
Late Sunday night, a metal panel fell from the staircase ([link removed]) at the Savin Hill T stop in Dorchester, narrowly missing at least one rider in the second major safety failure at a T stop in the past month. It’s a disturbing pattern, but an unsurprising one.
Seven years into his tenure, derailments, delays, and disrepair are the norm on Baker’s public transit system. Here are three times Baker failed to prioritize safety at the MBTA:
1. Baker stalled on appointments to the MBTA’s new oversight panel.
Most recently, Charlie Baker waited months to fill five of seven seats ([link removed]) on the MBTA’s new board of directors. In the interim, several accidents occured, including derailments and crashes on the Red and Green lines, an escalator malfunction that injured nine, and a fatal staircase collapse. Oversight of the MBTA fell by the wayside, and only after transit advocates demanded Baker make his appointments to the board did he fill those seats.
2. Baker attempted to outsource maintenance operations to contractors with a history of safety concerns.
As Governor, Charlie Baker has repeatedly tried to privatize bus and T maintenance, despite serious safety concerns. In 2018, Baker tried to outsource the MBTA’s best-in-the-nation bus maintenance ([link removed]) , costing machinists jobs and compromising riders safety. In May of 2020, an audit on a contentious contract to privatize the T’s warehouse functions ([link removed]) found that parts delivered to T workers were frequently broken or damaged, or the wrong part altogether.
3. A panel of experts found that ‘safety is not the priority’ at the MBTA.
After a summer filled with derailments, floods, and track fires, a review commissioned by the MBTA’s oversight board found that Charlie Baker’s preoccupation with growing capital expenditures at the expense of daily operating costs “helped foster a culture in which “safety is not the priority ([link removed]) .’” The underfunded and understaffed authority was unable to complete critical maintenance and safety inspections, which led to dangerous conditions for riders.
Public transportation ensures that everyone has access to jobs, education, food, and essential services. It’s also a big part of achieving our climate goals--more people taking public transportation means fewer cars on our roads. But the key here is that public transportation needs to be affordable, accessible, and safe.
Nevertheless, Charlie Baker continues to put the burden of our crumbling transit infrastructure on riders with fare hikes and service cuts. Baker doesn’t care about the state of the MBTA because he doesn’t care about the commuters that deal with its headaches every day.
Call out Baker’s negligence on social media by posting your own public transit horror stories with #BakerPolitoExpectDelays. Make sure to tag Charlie Baker at @MassGovernor or @CharlieBakerMA.
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