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Baker: T Needs To Restore Service Faster Than 30-Day Estimate

BOSTON (CBS) -- Gov. Charlie Baker said Tuesday that the state will work to try and get public transportation in Boston back to normal faster than the 30-day timeframe recently outlined by the MBTA.

Record-setting snow and extreme cold have completely shut down the MBTA on some days and severely limited service on others. T General Manager Beverly Scott said Monday that it could take a month to get the whole system back on track – if there are no more snowstorms.

CHECK: MBTA Service Updates

"We're viewing that as sort of an outer limit," Baker said in an afternoon press conference. "Our goal is to work collaboratively with them to do what we can to get different parts of the system online as soon as possible."

The governor said he's now checking in with MBTA officials twice a day. But he also said wasn't made aware of the 30-day estimate before it was announced by Scott, who has said she will resign amid intense criticism of the MBTA's winter performance.

"I think we need to be faster than that," Baker said. "But I don't want anybody over-promising and under-delivering there."

Baker said he's also looking forward to having a "chat" with commuter rail operator Keolis about its performance this winter.

"I'm certainly not satisfied with their performance and I want to hear what their service recovery plan is,"  Baker said. "Just doing the same thing they've been doing every day is not an adequate answer."

mbta inmate
Inmates help to clear the Red Line of snow at Braintree station. (Photo credit Kim Tunnicliffe/WBZ)

Hundreds of National Guard troops, state workers and even dozens of inmates have been trying to clear rail tracks that have frozen over underneath the snow. The state is also pursuing federal disaster assistance following the Blizzard of 2015.

READ: Ex-Planning Director Says MBTA Prioritized Expansion Over Maintenance

Scott and others have said that funding for the MBTA needs dramatic reform to prevent future operating problems, but Baker said for now, he's just focused on getting service restored as soon as possible for frustrated commuters.

"There are a lot of larger questions that have to be addressed and they will be," Baker said. "In the short term, the real focus needs to be on reliability."

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