As WBUR’s Zeninjor Enwemeka reports, a group of Massachusetts legislators rode the commuter rail this morning and got a representative ride:
In an effort to better understand the challenges — and headaches — faced by public transit riders this winter, dozens of state lawmakers rode the MBTA and the commuter rail Thursday morning.
About 47 lawmakers took part in what is being called Gov On The T Day.
At South Station, many of the state representatives who rode the commuter rail said they experienced delays, overcrowded trains and waits in the cold — issues commuters have been dealing with all winter.
But if Gov On The T organizers thought a first-hand look would break Beacon Hill’s decades-long refusal to spend what’s necessary to get the T back on track, they were wrong:
“Just giving the T money alone is not going to solve the problem,” [Transportation Secretary Stephanie] Pollack said.
It’s a sentiment Pollack has expressed before as the MBTA struggled during the last two months. And other lawmakers Thursday agreed, saying they want to get a better understanding of how money is already being used on the state’s transit system.
“There really needs to be some good oversight of the whole system,” state Rep. Kay Khan, of Newton, said. “It’s complicated, but in this day and age it seems to be that we should be able to figure out how to make it a better system. I don’t know if we’re ready to pour in money at this point until we really know what we need to be doing and then take a look at what the cost will be.”
Look, oversight and investigations are fine. But if your mechanic told you she could fix your car without spending a dime on it, would you believe her? Anyone who tells you they can fix the MBTA without investing in maintenance & upgrades is selling snake oil.
The truth is lawmakers want to fix the MBTA, but not more than they don’t want to raise taxes. Until that changes, commuters should bundle up & bring their patience, and businesses should expect work to keep not getting done as their employees run late.