A Better City's Director of Transportation, Kathryn Carlson testified in front of the MBTA Board to discuss safety concerns surrounding recent derailments. Here is the transcript from her testimony:
Joint MassDOT and FMCB Board Meeting, June 17, 2019
Comments by Kathryn Carlson, Director of Transportation, A Better City
Safety Issues and State of Good Repair
Thank you Secretary Pollack, Chairman Aiello and all board members for hearing our comments today.
I am Kathryn Carlson, Director of Transportation at A Better City, and I am here today on behalf of our 130-member businesses and institutions.
Obviously there is concern among all – commuters, business leaders and citizens across the region – regarding the recent MBTA train derailments.
We feel that this is indicative of the slow state of State of Good Repair updates and are calling on you to conduct an independent safety audit of the entire system.
1) It is imperative for confidence in the system that this audit is conducted by an independent entity and the results communicated in a transparent and timely manner not only to the board but also to the business community, commuters and citizens of the region alike.
We acknowledge that LTK is a highly respected and reputable national firm and has done great work for the MBTA and with us at A Better City. Our issue is NOT with LTK being selected by the MBTA GM to conduct this safety review. Rather, given these recent derailments and the public's heightened and reasonable concerns with system safety, A Better City thinks this safety review should be done independent of the MBTA.
2) We ask you to consider deferring the fare increase until such time that safety issues are well-addressed.
3) These are immediate actions but need to work in concert with a renewed push for removing the State of Good Repair backlog on the system, which your recent estimates have increased to over $10 billion. Given our recent work at estimating the funding gap between what is planned and possible in operational and capital capacity and what is necessary to achieve the State of Good Repair by 2032, we find there is ~$3Billion more in financing needs over this timeframe that the state and MBTA have yet identified.
4) Furthermore, in order to achieve even current plans, the agency needs to find a way to spend at a much higher rate that has been achieved this year and in recent years.
5) Please know that the business community is grateful for the difficult jobs you have undertaken. We know these are tough tasks ahead but please also know that we stand willing to roll up our sleeves and help as directly as possible.
Thank you for your time today.