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Massachusetts Liberal

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

Friday, November 21, 2008

Slow down and think, for a change

As our elected leaders focus on the driving public and how to pay for the massive costs associated with the roads and bridges, it's becoming even more clear that our primary alternative form of transportation also has serious trouble.

Although I've been a strong advocate for a gasoline tax hike over a massive bump in tolls (one we now learn could include the Tobin Bridge too), I agree with Gov. Deval Patrick that we actually ought to take the time and, for once, develop a comprehensive package that deals with all issues. (Sorry Dan).

That's why I also like Senate President Terry Murray's idea to think about legislation putting the Turnpike toll hikes on the shelf for awhile. The bond rating agencies won't like it -- but it beats a rush to a overturn one bad decision with an incomplete one.

And it's become increasingly clear that any transportation review needs to include the MBTA. Two separate media reports in a single day about impaired or sleep-deprived operators suggest that "leadership" at T just doesn't have a handle on how it to deal with the higher passenger volume it is experiencing as a result of the gasoline price run-up.

Massachusetts has a history of quick and expensive fixes that can create more problems than they solve -- the Massachusetts Highway System that has bankrupted the Turnpike Authority or the decision to heap additional crushing debt on the MBTA come to mind.

Let's do it thoughtfully and do it right -- so we don't have to come back in another 10 years to fix it again. That means dealing with transportation in a structured way -- roads, bridges and mass transit.

What a concept.

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Blogger Dan Kennedy said...

I certainly don't disagree that we should put this off until we can see how much money we can squeeze out of the system before raising taxes or tolls.

Once that's concluded, though, it's got to be a gas-tax hike — tolls are high enough.

November 21, 2008 9:30 AM  
Blogger dan bosley said...

And the regional transportation agencies for the rest of the state...and some talk about passenger rail.

November 21, 2008 1:08 PM  
Blogger Outraged Liberal said...

Hey we can all get along :-)

November 22, 2008 10:47 AM  

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