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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, February 09, 2012

Sorry Charlie

House Speaker Robert DeLeo has one word for people who think the Legislature will come to the rescue of the MBTA. No.

DeLeo ruled out any new taxes in the fiscal 2013 budget that will emerge from his branch in April during an address to this members yesterday. While he was referring to a series of hikes on tobacco, candy and soda sought by Gov. Deval Patrick to support education, social services and local aid, there is a broader undertone to the message.

The MBTA is in the midst of a marathon of public hearings over proposed fare increases and service cuts that make it seem that legislative intervention may be needed to avoid chaos, not to mention jammed buses, trains and highways.

The silence from Patrick and DeLeo is almost as deafening as the unspoken message from T officials and riders staring at a yawning gap that is only expected to get bigger thanks to Big Dig debt hung on the transit agency by lawmakers at the turn of the century.

Obviously it is way too soon for Beacon Hill to signal any support for what would undoubtedly be an unpleasant rise in the gas tax, something far more likely to raise the hackles of a business community that DeLeo says needs predictability and consistency in the tax code.

There's also a political question of whether the House has the stomach for the wrenching debate at the same time it is holding its breath over the impending federal grand jury testimony by imprisoned former Speaker Sal DiMasi.

It's still very early in this multi-act drama and the script now calls for rejecting the suitor's sly advances. But this is work in progress could be hit with a major rewrite once the road tryouts come to a close.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Put speed pass tolls at the Big Dig tunnels, maybe only a dollar. If you use it you help pay for it.

February 09, 2012 12:28 PM  

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