Mass. lawmakers mull moving T safety oversight from the Department of Public Utilities

Each state has a designated agency to oversee rapid transit safety, conducting on-the-ground audits in consultation with the Federal Transit Administration. In Massachusetts, that agency is the DPU, which also oversees electric and gas utilities. Co-chair of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy, Senator Mike Barrett, said a separate transportation commission may be better suited to oversee T safety.

“I am very concerned that the safety division historically has been an afterthought at the agency,” he said. The primary focus of the DPU needs to be climate change policy, Barrett said, and the T safety crisis is a “fire drill situation” distracting from that effort. The hearing comes just over a month after the Federal Transit Administration released its safety management inspection findings about the T.