Playing budget politics
Just a couple of days after launching a trial balloon about a 29-cent gasoline tax hike -- to a virtual unanimous round of hostility -- Transportation Secretary James Aloisi was back yesterday with Step 2: Nightmare on the T.
How could we tell?
The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority will have to increase public transit fares by as much as 25 percent, severely cut back services, or lay off employees unless the agency can figure out how to pay down the agency's crushing debt, the state's top transportation official warned yesterday.
"If we don't get help by June, we're likely to make the cuts," Aloisi said at a meeting yesterday with the MBTA board. "The damage will be significant."
I have to believe there is room for a lot of trimming at the T -- starting with Smilin' Dan's salary and SUV.
And I'm certain I won't miss the "service ambassadors" who speed my ride by standing at the stop so they can register my Charlie Card and speed up Green Line boarding through all doors. How can you miss what you don't see?
There's no denying the T is in tough financial straits because of massive debt dumped on it by the Legislature. And the pension padding that afflicts much of state government is especially problematic at the T, a patronage haven for as long as I can remember.
But as Smilin' Dan loves to tells us monthly, ridership is way up.
So maybe threats of fare hikes and service cuts are designed to get people back into their cars and allow the state to collect more for the gas tax?