Boston public transit will not be taken over by federal transit authorities
Boston's MTBA received a harsh safety review in August, following a train derailment in June
Federal transit authorities have no plans to try to take over the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority or withhold funds from the agency despite a harsh safety review of the MBTA released in August.
Nuria Fernandez, head of the Federal Transit Administration, made the comments Friday in response to a question by Democratic U.S. Sen. Edward Markey during a Senate hearing in Boston on the troubled MBTA.
"The Federal Transit Administration does not have the legal authority to take over the day to day operations of any transit agency," Fernandez said, adding that even if it could take over the MBTA, the FTA would not have the capacity to manage the operations of the transit authority.
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Some Beacon Hill lawmakers have raised the possibility of placing the MBTA into federal receivership. Fernandez said the FTA will continue its oversight of the MBTA to ensure that it addresses ongoing safety concerns.
The FTA report includes four "special directives," requiring 53 separate actions that the transportation authority must take, including addressing worker shortages, prioritization of safety management, safety communication, and operating conditions, policies, procedures, and training.
"The Federal Transit Administration is not currently withholding any funding from the state," Fernandez added.
MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak, said the agency is working to address the concerns detailed in the FTA report.
"The system is safe, but we can and will do better," Poftak said. "Safety has been and continues to be our top priority."
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Poftak also said that while there will be some nighttime and weekend shutdowns of portions of the MBTA, including on the Red Line, there are no plans to shut down an entire subway line.
The MBTA recently shut down the entire Orange Line for 30 days to complete what they said was the equivalent of five years of maintenance.