Thursday, 4:30 PM
T trolleys in trouble
By Mac Daniel, Globe Staff
The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority plans to spend an extra $101 million in the next 20 years because officials failed to properly monitor the design of new handicapped accessible Green Line trolleys, said a report released today by the state auditor.
The 25-page review, which represents a final accounting on the botched purchase of the controversial low-floor cars, also criticizes the T for not properly testing the equipment.
The audit found the authority also failed to give Breda Costruzioni Ferroviarie, the Italian manufacturer, detailed track standards necessary to properly design the cars, a flaw that led to a series of derailments, a contractual stalemate, and delayed delivery.
"The lack of detailed track information played a significant role in the dispute ... over whether the derailment issue was caused by car design or track conditions," the report states.
The audit also faults T officials for allowing Breda to reduce the time period for important testing and debugging of the prototype cars from 18 months to 13 months. The audit also found much of the prototype testing was performed at night, before tracks were heated by the sun, which led to misleading results.
"These ill-advised decisions by the MBTA directly contributed to the faulty acceptance design of these vehicles and their propensity to derail," said the audit.
T officials disputed the auditís price tag, saying the additional costs are $54 million when subtracting routine maintenance costs, not $101 million. Auditors said the $101 million figure was both "accurate and conservative."