Sacred Cods and Holy Mackerals


Thoughts from a muggy hearing room
December 11, 2008, 7:04 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,

A few overdue thoughts on Tuesday’s Transportation Committee hearing:

  • If I live in Milton, or Walpole, or New Bedford, or Woburn, or Westfield, I would probably want to know why my state legislator couldn’t find time to attend a hearing on arguably the second biggest issue facing the state (behind the budget).  They all probably at least had aides in attendance, but I mean, seriously, they couldn’t just show up, ask a perfunctory question and then split? These hearings, frankly, are pretty freakin’ important. (At least from a public relations standpoint) We are, after all, only talking about the longterm viability of the state’s major turnpike, mass transit system, and airport.  

 

  • Speaking of the long-term viability of the state’s turnpike, mass transit system and airport, let’s just say the doctor is looking at their chart, shaking his head, and asking if their affairs are all in order.

 

  • MassPort actually is the healthiest of all three, but may not be for long if it has to take over the $2.2 billion in outstanding Big Dig debt. MassPort CEO Tom Kinton sounded like a hostage reading a prepared script trying to tell everyone watching back home that, No really, he’s fine, he’s being treated nicely, and thinks his captors are wonderful guys! I think Rep. Wagner at one point was about to jump over the table, take Kinton in his arms, and quietly whisper to him, “It’s ok, those bad men from the Executive Branch can’t hurt you any more. Shhh, it’s OK. The Legislature’s here, we got you.”

 

  • Sen. Hedlund at one point asked Transportation Secretary Bernard Cohen how many of the 3 dozen of so reforms recommended by the Mass. Transportation Finance Commission have actually been implemented, the answer was basically, “Uh, like, one and a half.” (And as always, Sen. Quioxte was quick to bring up Greenbush, the fiercest windmill of them all. Although the fact that the line is operating at a $10 million annual loss is staggering. How many additional bus lines to Marshfield, or Weymouth, or Hull could you run for that money? Could he have been right all these years?) 

 

  • If I lived in Lynn, Medford, Fall River/New Bedford, or any of the Urban Ring communities, I would take particular notice to the fact that both chairmen of the Transportation Commitee, as well as the MBTA General Manager said the state needs to consider a moratorium on future MBTA expansion projects. 
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