Feb 6, 2023 - Politics

One month in, Healey takes charge of T's troubles

Gov. Maura Healey and Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll ride the T. Photo: Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Like her predecessor, Gov. Maura Healey's first winter in office is shaping up to be all about the MBTA.

Why it matters: Healey has inherited former Gov. Charlie Baker's commitment to fix eastern Massachusetts' transit system, the linchpin of the state's economy and culture.

Flashback: MBTA didn't just fail during the epic 2015 "Snowpocalypse." It utterly collapsed when it shut down all rail service in the face of massive winter storms. Getting the T back up and running became Baker's first short-term emergency and forced a long-term challenge to fix the T over his two terms.

Fast forward: Eight years later, Healey finds herself facing her own MBTA crisis.

  • Instead of snow, it’s the hope for new subway cars for the Orange and Red Lines — one of the cornerstones of Baker's repair plan — that’s melting.
  • The Chinese company hired to build the new cars has only delivered a fraction of the $870 million order and the project could be years behind schedule.
  • Meanwhile, the T continues to use antique vehicles that cause delays and endanger riders.

What's next: Acting T General Manager Jeff Gonneville last week disclosed just how bad the situation is, and now the governor is beginning to take action.

  • Healey will hire a team of experts from outside of the T to review the new subway car fiasco.
  • “I think as governor I’m ultimately responsible,” she told reporters last week after a trip on one of the aging Red Line cars.

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