With the MBTA still awaiting more than 300 new Red and Orange Line cars through a project intended to increase the transit system’s capacity, Gov. Maura Healey said Monday that her administration is still in the “early stages” of identifying what went wrong with the contract.
The T for years has had contracts worth nearly $900 million in place with Chinese rail company CRRC to replace the entire Red and Orange Line fleets with 404 brand-new vehicles, but so far only 78 Orange Line cars and 12 Red Line cars have been delivered.
CRRC was originally expected to deliver all 152 Orange Line trains by January 2022 and all 252 Red Line cars by September 2023, deadlines that have been pushed back twice.
And the timeline was kicked down the road even further last week when MBTA Interim General Manager Jeff Gonneville said CRRC will now deliver all Orange Line cars by December 2023 and Red Line cars by September 2026.
“We need to make sure that projects that are promised with delivery dates are delivered on time,” Healey said when asked if the state will revisit the contract it has with CRRC.
“We’re getting to the bottom of things,” she said. “I think at this point, you know, we’re still in the early stages of identifying what’s happening with respect to existing contracts. And I think we’ll make whatever moves are necessary to ensure that we’re getting the delivery of what we need as quickly as possible.”
Healey also echoed similar statements she’s made over the past month when asked about T woes, repeating her promise to add a transportation safety chief to hire a new MBTA general manager following an “expeditious and thorough process.”
“Look, I mean, we’ve said from the outset, we’re not going to have a functioning economy here in Massachusetts until we have a functioning transportation system,” she said. “And it’s something that we have made a priority.”
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