Baker announces plan to accelerate MBTA infrastructure improvements

MEDFORD, MASS. (WHDH) - Gov. Charlie Baker announced a plan Tuesday to accelerate the pace of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority infrastructure improvements after a pair of recent derailments left commuters frustrated.

The MBTA is in the midst of executing a five-year, $8 billion Capital Investment Program to improve public transportation.

Baker has asked for an additional $50 million to hire more MBTA personnel to speed up these improvements.

He says the June 11 derailment of a Red Line train spurred his decision to accelerate the projects, adding that the damaged signal bungalows showed him how outdated, poorly placed and complicated they are.

“The restoration work on the heels of the derailment has led the T to refocus its efforts on developing ways to get this work done faster, to better service customers and get them the system they deserve,” Baker said. “Today, we’re announcing a series of steps that will allow the MBTA to accelerate its capital delivery program.”

The proposal includes five key initiatives:

  1. More evening and weekend closures to speed up infrastructure improvements.
  2. Increasing the number of proactive inspections and preventive maintenance to find and fix potential issues before they impact services.
  3. Ask state legislature to change some spending perimeters, such as flexible procurement and project delivery approaches.
  4. Negotiate with industry partners to expedite manufacturing and compress project schedules.
  5. Create a new, flexible team of additional MBTA personnel and contracted resources to focus on expediting construction and infrastructure projects.

Baker says he hopes by accelerating these projects, commuters will start to see changes on the tracks sooner.