Mayor Michelle Wu is calling for major updates to the MBTA, beyond piecemeal repair efforts of recent months. The push for renovations comes after a slew of dangerous incidents — most recently involving an Orange Line fire that forced over 200 passengers to evacuate on a bridge.

“We have trains running that are decades beyond their useful life, the tracks are out of date, the signals haven't been upgraded in decades,” Wu said on Boston Public Radio Friday. “We've seen the team more and more start to do some minor things on the weekends or a short stretch at a time, but it's at the point now where we need to talk about what the actual solution is, do something big now.”

One potential example Wu suggested would involve a several week shutdown of the Orange Line, which has some of the oldest tracks in the region. The mayor recognized the work required of the city to create bus shuttles to tide riders over during renovations.

Wu said she also hopes Boston legislators will be more vocal in transportation governance, including a potential seat on the board for Boston that would give the city a direct role in affecting policy. Wu emphasized that the problems with the T are not confined to the Orange Line fire last week.

“That wasn't even the only situation recently that has risen to a level of serious safety concern,” she said.

Other issues Wu weighed in on BPR included:

  • White supremacists protesting an LGBTQ event last weekend, not long after a Patriot Front rally the weekend of July 4: “We are, as a city, being targeted by many of these groups, I believe not because they feel comfortable here, but exactly the opposite,” Wu said. The city has increased its preparation for potential alt-right activity, and plans to enforce a no-tolerance policy. “That means whenever any line is crossed that is beyond the First Amendment — they are, as we saw over the weekend, disrupting the peace or affray or vandalism, from putting a sticker on something — anything that crosses a city, state or federal law, immediately there will be consequences and accountability for these groups,” she said. “We're working very closely with the U.S. attorney [Rachael Rollins], she and the Boston police are creating a hotline where information can be reported right away.”
  • Joe Abasciano, the Boston Police Department member under investigation surrounding social media posts about the Jan. 6 insurrection: “My understanding is that there were no [Boston] officers inside the building on that day,” Wu said, but the investigation has not yet concluded. “This is something that will definitely be resolved,” she said. Abasciano remains on paid leave.
  • The potential return of happy hour, via a bill that awaits its fate on Governor Charlie Baker’s desk: Wu said she is in favor of happy hour. “I support having this provision passed at the state level and will do my best if that happens at the city level to make sure that we're listening to all parties and would only move forward with something that makes sense,” she said, emphasizing that the bill would allow cities to opt in with their own rules, and that it could help Boston’s downtown. “Having a way to add one more draw to the business district overall could make a difference,” she said.