Transportation advocates rally at State House for more funding for MBTA

Transportation advocates are demanding more funding after MBTA logged more incidents that are raising safety questions.

Just days after a Red Line train derailment and a broken escalator at Back Bay Station sent nine to the hospital, transportation advocates rallied at the State House Thursday morning demanding Gov. Charlie Baker and the Legislature take immediate action to increase funding and improve safety for the entire MBTA system.

“Let's be clear, these disasters are not accidents. They are symptoms of the system that has been underfunded for too long,” said Collique Williams of Community Labor United.

On Wednesday, Baker defended the MBTA.

“I do believe the T is safe," he said.

He also defended the steps his administration has taken to improve the system.

"Find me another administration that has spent $5 billion on modernizing and upgrading a system that was horribly neglected for decades before we took office. Is there still significant work that remains to be done? Absolutely," he said.

But every speaker at Thursday’s rally criticized Baker for not appointing new members of the MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board when the previous board lapsed earlier this year.

“When we had a control board, every single Monday we heard from leadership, every single week we had a body that was supposed to look into incidents like this,” said Stacy Thompson of LivableStreets Alliance.

Advocates fear incidents will happen even more regularly in the future unless elected leaders step up now and get to work.

“We can't fall for pointless slogans about reform before revenue or just focusing on repairs. The T must repair, modernize and expand,” said Jarred Johnson, the executive director of Transit Matters.