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LETTERS

Knock, knock. Who’s there? Not the Orange Line.

Old and new Orange Line trains sit at Wellington Station after Governor Charlie Baker and the MBTA announced on Aug. 3 that the Orange Line will shutdown for 30 days for necessary maintenance.Erin Clark/Globe Staff

As hard as it will be on commuters, don’t lose track of those making the repairs

Sincere sympathies to all who rely on the Orange Line to get to and from work (”T hoping monthlong shutdown of the Orange Line will pay off,” Aug. 4, Page A1). It’s hard to imagine the juggling required by individuals and employers over the next month to maintain livelihoods and operations. At the same time, the Greater Boston community should not lose track of those who will be working to repair the T. These men and women will be working in the heat of the summer and under incredible time pressures. It is critical to anticipate the health and safety needs of these workers and take steps now to assure that they are protected. Massachusetts dedicated extra resources to workplace safety on the Big Dig — and the project had a relatively good safety record. Similarly, attention and resources should be devoted to assuring those working to repair the T stay safe. Of particular note this hot week: Massachusetts currently does not have an enforceable labor standard to protect those working in hazardous heat conditions. Some states do and OSHA has recommended guidance. We should look to this guidance that requires workers be provided with water, rest and shade, and implement heat protocols to make sure workers repairing the T get home in good health each day.

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Letitia Davis

Cambridge


Anyone want to make a bet?

What are the odds that the T will complete its repairs on the Orange Line by Sept. 19?

Richard Craven

Somerville


We got this — together

Boston, we got this. We know the 30-day Orange Line shutdown is going to be disruptive and costly, but we have been through crises before and we know how to pull together and do what needs to be done.

Let’s brainstorm together: If you can work from home, do it — let those who can’t, use the streets. Take different transportation if you can, a bike, a scooter, or walk. Let’s work together to get through this shutdown. We got this. You’ve got this.

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Joan Cyr

Medford


Powerful thrive while costs are borne by the powerless public

Until those in positions of power have to endure the consequences of their decisions, events like the recent fire and month-long service suspension on the Orange Line will not only continue but escalate further. The MBTA failures never would have been tolerated under the stewardship of Governor Michael Dukakis, a daily T commuter. This unfortunate situation is not isolated to our public transit, it is endemic and spreading like cancer throughout our country, starting at the top of all our pillars.

Look no further than the lightning fast action of Congress when Justice Brett Kavanaugh was threatened by an individual carrying a gun in his neighborhood. Supreme Court justices received instant increased security while our nation’s children, decades after so many were and continue to be slaughtered by gunmen, wait while proposed solutions of locking doors and nonsense are discussed ad nauseum. Look at Tesla, setting up a dedicated entryway from Mexico so as not to have to wait in line at the border like everyone else. The decisions to optimize and exploit power benefit those in charge while all the negative ramifications and costs are borne by the powerless public.

Until the decision makers have to wait in the lines, be vulnerable to gun violence, jump out the window of a burning train on their way to work, be given two weeks to find alternative ways to work, or deal with any of the countless other disrespectful behaviors the public has to endure, nothing will change. This cancer of disparate treatment has metastasized and aggressive treatment is required.

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James Christopher

Westwood


Years of excuses and allowances later

How ironic it is that the Charlie Baker governorship will be bookended by unprecedented MBTA disasters, with 8 years of intermittent appeals for action shelved in-between.

How disappointing it is that a leader of his caliber fell into the political trap of accepting the excuses and allowances so many have made — and are still making — for him: Decades of underfunding, not Charlie’s fault; pre-existing obstacles, not Charlie’s fault; an ancient and cumbersome system, not Charlie’s fault; obstinate political gridlock, not Charlie’s fault.

How embarrassing it is for Massachusetts that it took the Federal Transit Administration stepping in to get leadership to act.

The reckless ruining of lives, no one held accountable, constant chaotic crises — no, it’s not Washington, it’s the MBTA. And right now, it looks like it’s Baker’s fault.

US Representative Seth Moulton wrote on Twitter, “Sadly, the Orange Line shutdown is necessary, but it should never have come to this.”

Exactly.

Anna M. Maude

Hingham


It’s time for the rise of the ‘Let’s Fix the T Party’

The latest debacle at the MBTA is just another symptom of an agency that is unable to face reality. Instead of fixing the underlying failures in the system, the MBTA’s tried and true course of action has been to reapply coats of paint over rotten wood. Such an approach feels like progress, but in reality, weaknesses worsen and failures flourish.

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So what are we going to do? The answer lies not in tweaks at the margins (more paint) but a wholesale restructuring (rebuild the system). Such change requires political courage and leadership, but unfortunately, none of this is in surplus these days on Beacon Hill or within the T itself.

So let us change the game and make the fix all about power. Create a political party (nominally called the Let’s Fix the T Party) to leverage the needed change. The T Party (not to be confused with the conservative movement of 2009) would send representatives to Beacon Hill with a single platform: comprehensive transit and infrastructure reform. From Springfield to Boston, from Williamstown to Westport.

How would the T Party fare in an election? I would suppose rather well as candidates would benefit from a clear policy platform that targets decades of duty dereliction at the hands of the status quo.

Jim Hamilton

Arlington


About the other safety concerns...

After seeing the photograph on the front page of the Aug. 4 Boston Globe showing a crowded Orange Line car, only two of whose passengers are masked, following prudence, I am staying off the T, malfunctions or not.

Dr. Harvey Finkel

Brookline