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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Monday, December 04, 2006

We've been down this road before

So John Cogliano, Tokyo Mitt's appointee to head the Mass. Turnpike Authority, says Deval Patrick can still bl0ck the plan to take down the tollbooths over most of the Mass. Pike.

That's good news on the same day that Dan Graubauskas gets up at 5:30 a.m. to tell Dudley Station commuters that the CharlieCard carries a smaller fare increase than the CharlieTicket.

It's nothing short of infuriating that this blatant stunt designed to revive the Healey campaign is still alive. Eliminating Mass. Pike tolls in a vacuum is poor policy -- even if Pike users should not be forced to pay the freight for the Big Dig.

Coming at the same time the T is raising fares only encourages people to get of the Mediocre Bad Terrible Atrocious (MBTA) system and back into their cars.

Thankfully, Patrick doesn't look like he's buying.
"He hasn't seen enough of the homework that would make the case for that, that would make it fiscally responsible especially about how the road would be maintained and plowed," Patrick spokesman Richard Chacon said.
Cogliano (you know the guy who approved payments for Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff to repair the tunnels they didn't build right in the first place) acknowledges this runaway train can be stopped.

Under a key section of the plan, after the tolls are removed, the roadway must be transferred to the state highway department for maintenance -- something that the state highway commissioner will have to sign off on. But once Patrick takes office in January, he will be able to appoint his own highway commissioner, who could refuse the offer.

Cogliano said that such a refusal would derail the toll plan. "That could be an obstacle," Cogliano told the Associated Press.

A comprehensive transportation plan must include funds to repair roads and bridges neglected as a result of Big Dig spending, It should encourage, not discourage, public transportation. But above all, it should not affirm cheap campaign stunts that will only bankrupt the system and shift the burden of road repairs from drivers to public transit.


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