The MBTA's Fiscal and Management Control Board got an update today on efforts to improve safety at the agency in everything from passenger accidents to derailments to bus collisions.
Overall, Chief Safety Officer Ronald Nickle told the board, the trends pointing toward a safer MBTA.
But Nickle also said that a recent accident involving a commuter rail train, which caused eighteen minor injuries, could have looked like the horrific October train crash in Hoboken, N.J., which killed one person and injured more than 100, had the train been moving at just ten miles per hour, compared to five.
The train was stopped, Nickle said, by a metal "bunter" that might not have withstood an impact at even slightly higher velocity.
But Nickle also seemed to suggest, without quite saying it, that long-term safety issues, including\ everything from retrofitting trains to prevent derailments to the federally-required implementation of Positive Train Control to prevent collisions, will require more resources.
"I can tell you that the action ... to procure equipment and provide money for 'State of Good Repair,' — it's needed. And it's really important to the future of this organization," Nickle said.
"I just want to make that really clear, from my perspective, which is supposed to be independent as well as functional."
Governor Charlie Baker, in his proposed budget for this year, flat-lined spending for the MBTA — and the legislature did not add more than the governor requested.
Massachusetts Department of Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack, asked by a reporter after Nickle's remarks whether she was eyeing increased state funding for the T for next budget year, said "no."