BOSTON (CBS) — The MBTA’s general manager has said it could take 30 days before the transit system completely recovers from historic snowfall.
But Rafael Mares, a senior attorney with the Conservation Law Foundation, has an even bleaker outlook for the long-term health of the T. He tells WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Laurie Kirby that it could be seven years before all the new cars that have been ordered by the T are up and running.READ MORE: Vigil And March Held In Belmont For Henry Tapia, One Year After Being Killed In Road Rage Confrontation
“The biggest problem is that we started ordering all these very late,” said Mares, who did an analysis of MBTA financing in 2010 with the current transportation secretary. “It takes a long time.”
New Red and Orange line cars have only just been procured, Mares said.
“They have to be built, assembled and then a 500-mile operational test has to happen before they can go into service,” Mares said. “They’re not all going to be in place until 2022.”
On Tuesday, a former planning director told WBZ NewsRadio 1030 that prioritizing expansion over maintenance was the main cause of the MBTA’s current failures. But Mares said he completely disagrees.READ MORE: Man In 'Grave Condition' After South Shore Plaza Shooting In Braintree; No Arrests Made Yet
“The problems we’re seeing right now are a clear case of underfunding,” he said. “It was clear back then that our transportation system and the T and regional transit authorities specifically were significantly underfunded and had been underfunded for many years.”
Mares points to a law passed in 2000 that was supposed to put the T on solid financial footing. The law was designed to dedicate a portion of the sales tax to the T, but Mares said projections the state relied on never came true and no adjustments were ever made.
“The real issue is the chronic underfunding over years,” Mares said.
MBTA General Manager Beverly Scott has already announced that she will step down amid relentless criticism of the T’s winter performance. Mares, however, said she is not the problem.MORE NEWS: Owners Of 'Short-Staffed' Salem Businesses Complying With Vaccine Mandate Hope New $500 Incentive Attracts Workers
“The people we have in place right now are the best people that are around, between the general manager and the secretary of transportation,” he said. “If you did a national search, those would be the best people you’d come up with.”