Senator disappointed with missed commuter rail deadline

Sen. Brendan Crighton of Lynn says he is very disappointed that the MBTA failed to meet an initial deadline for the first phase of a commuter rail makeover last week, and said waiting until spring is unacceptable.

“I don’t feel the MBTA has the same sense of urgency that my constituents and commuters feel,” he said. “I wonder why they are dragging their feet.”

At a November 4 meeting, the Fiscal and Management Control Board passed five resolutions laying out a vision for a commuter rail system of the future that would rely primarily on electric trains providing service every 15 to 20 minutes on the busiest lines. One of the resolutions called for the new service to launch in phases, with the first phase focusing on the Providence/Stoughton line, the Fairmount line, and the section of the Rockport/Newburyport Line that runs between Boston and Lynn.

MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak was tasked with reporting back last week with a staffing plan for the “rail transformation office,” a budget to support the office, target completion dates for the first phase, and work plans for this year and next. Aside from a vague staffing plan for supervisors in the office, none of the other tasks was completed, with Poftak saying that the work got sidetracked as the T dealt with pressing safety issues.