In New Eight-Page Letter, Senators Warren, Markey Continue to Push DPU Chair Nelson for Answers and Accountability on MBTA Mismanagement
Continued issues, delays, and service disruptions at the T, including in recent weeks, make it clear that there remains much to be done to get the system back on track. Three Month Anniversary of Senate Field Hearing on MBTA and DPU Failures
Washington, D.C. — United States Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) sent an eight page letter with sixteen questions to Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) Chair Matthew Nelson following up on the DPU’s repeated failures as the State Safety Oversight Agency of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) and requesting information on the DPU’s timeline for corrective actions.
At the hearing, and in response to Questions for the Record sent to him after the hearing, Chair Nelson made a series of promises and commitments about DPU efforts to improve its oversight of MBTA. “It is critical that DPU keep these promises and provide transparency about its progress in doing so, particularly since MBTA’s safety and performance problems have persisted in the wake of the hearing,” wrote the senators.
Three months ago, on October 14, 2022, Senator Warren chaired a Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs’ Subcommittee on Economic Policy field hearing in Boston, Massachusetts focused on the T’s consistent failure to keep passengers safe and provide reliable service, and the urgent need to increase transparency and accountability at the T and the DPU.
Despite commitments by Chair Nelson – at the hearing and in subsequent statements submitted to Senator Warren – to “expand [DPU’s] resources to conduct more field work and auditing of the MBTA,” T riders in Massachusetts continue to face extended wait times, limited service, disabled trains, and “various disruptions to service throughout January 2023.”
“These issues reveal ongoing problems with maintenance, quality, service, and transparency from the T, and continuing gaps and failures with DPU oversight,” wrote the senators.
The lawmakers sent a detailed list of sixteen questions requesting information from Chair Nelson no later than January 26 to ensure that the DPU is carrying out its oversight responsibilities to protect MBTA riders.
- In November, Senator Warren issued a statement in response to the resignation of Steve Poftak, General Manager of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA).
- On October 26, 2022, Senator Warren and Markey issued a statement in response to then MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak’s letter to Senator Markey in response to his questions during the hearing of the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Policy probing the status of Orange Line speed restrictions and a list of outstanding work required to bring the MBTA up to a state of good repair.
- On October 14, 2022, chairing a hearing of the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Policy, Senator Warren delivered remarks about the leadership and safety failures at the T by the MBTA and the DPU, following years of dangerous and deadly collisions, derailments, accidents, and delays.
- On October 6, 2022, Senator Warren announced that she will lead a hearing of the Subcommittee in Boston on Friday, October 14, 2022, entitled: “Economic Impacts of Inadequate Transit Maintenance and Oversight: Examining Management Failures at the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority and the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities.”
- In August 2022, Senator Warren and Senator Markey released a statement in response to the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Safety Management Inspection report on the MBTA.
- In July 2022, at a hearing of the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee (BHUA), Senator Warren questioned Nuria Fernandez, Administrator of the (FTA), on serious safety concerns regarding the MBTA, which has been plagued with shutdowns, maintenance and safety issues, and multiple deaths last year alone.
- In March 2021, Senator Warren and the rest of the Massachusetts congressional delegation sent a letter to then-MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak expressing concerns regarding the MBTA’s service cuts that began that week.
- In December 2020, Senator Warren and the rest of the Massachusetts congressional delegation wrote to then-MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak requesting a full explanation for the short-term and long-term service cuts approved by the MBTA.
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