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Massachusetts Liberal

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

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Blind leading the blind

It's hard to imagine anyone messing up the region's commuter rail system any worse than a company that keeps running locomotives after they break down. But the MBTA's decision to hire a company that mismanaged the Big Dig comes close.

Throwing justified skepticism to the wind, the MBTA Board of Directors opted to hire Parsons Brinckerhoff to assist in the purchase of 20 new commuter rail locomotives to replace engines like the one that stranded Worcester commuters coming and going on Monday.

Exactly what expertise the company has in anything other than collapsing highway tunnels in not readily apparent. But then again, the MBTA has a history of bad decisions.

Let's start with the Massachusetts Bay Commuter Rail Co., which holds the contract to operate the system. It's boss is James O'Leary, who once ran the entire T system through, um, interesting times during the 1980s. But he's now running the MBCR, home to brilliant decisions like putting an engine that broke down back into service immediately.

The reason, no doubt, is because there is a severe shortage of working engines. And could that have been influenced by the decision of Dan Grabauskas two years ago to delay purchasing 28 locomotives, citing financial problems?

Anyone want to guess how much more the eight fewer engines will set back the still financially-strapped agency?

Upon closer review, Parsons Brickerhoff seems perfectly suited to the task ahead of them. And that's a scary thought indeed.

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Blogger Daniel said...

They made a deal with Hit-or-Miss Coakley to avoid criminal prosecution. So now they pass the CORI check for corporations, and are free to continue siphoning tax money out of the state, and perhaps they'll give us another defective and dangerous product before they're done.
What a country!

March 03, 2011 5:48 AM  

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