Sacred Cods and Holy Mackerals


Transportation reform and poker talk
January 14, 2009, 6:16 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

So the Senate wants to merge the Turnpike Authority and MBTA and MassHighway into one big super-mega-transit authority. Interesting. Here’s how it may play out:

1) This results in tens of millions of dollars in annual savings, make it easier to run the state’s transportation system, and restore the faith of the public,

2) Combining the Turnpike and MBTA will result in a swirling vortex of suckitude so great that not even the sound of children’s laughter will be able to escape,

3) Or something in between.

You have to give the Senate some props (do the kids still say ‘props’ anymore?) for basically telling Gov. Patrick, “You’ve had your chance, pal, and you blew it.” The governor bet big with his hiring of Jim Aloisi, hoping that that passage of a major transportation reform package would give him enough chips to retain the Corner Office.

Well, Sen. Baddour and Senate President Murray got tired of waiting around for a plan. So today they did the political version of  call-raising him. And if they wind up with the better hand, and the Legislature passes the Senate’s reform plan, and not the governor, consider this the move that effectively knocked Gov. Patrick out of the game.

Enough of the poker talk. Ultimately, the devil will be in the details. Will the Senate’s plan essentially wind up being little more than a flow-chart reorganization? Or will it actually have teeth and contain the reform the public is demanding?

It will also be interesting to see if the House takes the bait and includes a gas tax hike during its debate. Again, a gas tax hike is coming. The questions are when, how much, and accompanied with what for reforms?

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