A day after federal transportation officials released startling details about additional security issues plaguing the MBTA, two audit candidates are calling for a security audit of the embattled agency, and gubernatorial candidates are stepping in also.
Audit candidate State Sen. Diana DiZoglio, D-Methuen, citing new details from the Federal Transit Administration that show “glaring security issues and a dysfunctional management process at the MBTA,” kicked off dispatch on Thursday saying that it would carry out an audit.
“It is unacceptable that MBTA management has put riders and workers at risk with shoddy oversight and a lack of plans to repair sections of track that are in poor condition,” DiZoglio said.
DiZoglio’s plan largely drew a collective shrug from Republican candidate Anthony Amore and Democratic main opponent Chris Dempsey, who described it as vague and lacking in detail.
“Senator DiZoglio’s statement today is more empty calories from a campaign that’s long on press releases, but short on policy ideas and leadership experience,” Dempsey said.
Dempsey, a longtime transit advocate, said he would instead use the authority of the auditor’s office to make sure the recommendations of the federal inquiry are followed by MBTA management.
Amore said he was fine with an audit, but questioned DiZoglio’s commitment to transparency, when she ‘boosted the endorsement’ of T’s union president Jim Evers, who voted to keep the MBTA pension system from the public record in 2014 after a $25 million investment. loss.
Amore, who cited his federal transit experience through the Department of Homeland Security, also questioned Dempsey’s commitment to the T, saying he left his former position as deputy secretary of MassDOT after six month.
Gubernatorial candidates Attorney General Maura Healey, a Democrat, and Republicans Geoff Diehl and Chris Doughty also raised concerns about the MBTA, following orders from the FTA asking it to take immediate corrective action on four issues of security.
Democratic State Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment.
A spokeswoman for Healey said she will closely review the federal agency’s short-term guidance and final recommendations later this summer, and “as governor, she will commit to making public transportation more safer and more reliable for everyone”.
Doughty said he would do what he did in his business – he would be accountable and transparent to keep everyone safe.
Diehl said: “It’s bad enough when mismanagement and disrepair lead to system failures, but it’s even worse when systemic problems cause actual physical damage. Having a full and fair independent audit of the system is a good first step towards fixing what’s broken.