Sacred Cods and Holy Mackerals

Monday evening links
December 16, 2008, 8:26 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , ,

1) Confirming what I’ve been telling ya, the Boston Globe reported Sunday that “MBTA” and “bankruptcy” are two terms that will be used in the same sentence alot in the coming weeks and months. This pending disaster is and isn’t the MBTA’s fault, if that makes sense. On one hand, under forward funding, the sales tax was expected to increase on average of about 3 percent. That hasn’t happened. The Globe story estimates is the sales tax had hit its estimates, the MBTA would have collected an extra $200 million over the past 8 years. The MBTA was also forced to eat about $4 billion in pre-existing debt, which put it seriously behind the 8-ball on the first day. HOWEVER. The MBTA has not exactly been scrimping their pennies. Despite the growing debt load and slow revenue growth, spending has increased on average more than 5% annually. MBTA officials have not pushed back when it’s come to either the generous employee packages the employee unions have negotiated or the $4 billion in Big Dig mitigation projects it has been required to absorb. All four of these points need to be addressed for the MBTA to remain solvent in the long run.

2) Ah sweet, sweet irony. How delicious your nectar is!  Brett over at Universal Hub took legislator Brian Downing to task for getting a bill passed that prohibits school buses from idling more than 5 minutes. (Ignore the fact that the DEP program Brett mentions had no teeth). Brett then ratchets up the snarky factor by telling “Benjamin” that he should have fired up the high-speed Intranets that the state had required Verizon to install out Pittsfield way, and done some reseach on the issue. “State rep doesn’t do homework” screams Brett’s headline. The only problem is that Benjamin Downing isn’t a state rep. He’s a senator. Ohhhhh, snap! Now who needs to do some homework! Posterized! 

3) And finally, I’m convinced that Deval Patrick is trying to make Howie Carr and Bob Hedlund’s heads asplode.  I mean, sure, Jim Aloisi is well liked among legislators. And maybe technically he isn’t directly responsible for the Big Dig mess or the looming toll hikes. But if the guy was too radioactive to hire two years ago, what has happened over the past 23 months to essentially absolve him? Isn’t any reform plan he conjures up automatically going to be consideed suspect by a large portion of the public?

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