Thursday, April 05, 2007

How to Pay for the Rail Extension?

Charley has a great post on his skepticism of the whole rail proposal by Governor Patrick: where's the state going to come up with 1.2 billion?

Well, the comments to his blog were fairly interesting too, including this one by Noternie. He suggested the proposed casino in New Bedford could help pay for it. As many readers are aware, I've never been a fan of casinos. I've been solidly against them in Massachusetts for a long time now. I was in Las Vegas for four days this summer and didn't even put one quarter into a slot machine. I've see the effects of gambling on people's lives and the community in regular Nevada towns (I travelled all through Nevada and California this past summer) and don't want anything remotely like that here in Massachusetts.

Then again, neither Rhode Island nor Connecticut remotely resemble that today. While the effects of gambling no doubt have hit Connecticut, perhaps the potential rewards of a casino in New Bedford could be worth it. Noternie's post made me think about how everything in life is interconnected: railways and a potential casino could be a match. People from the South Coast could use it to go to work in Boston; people from Greater Boston could go to a revitalized New Bedford waterfront - which would be a different kind of waterfront than anywhere else in this state. If all the state's taxes from a New Bedford casino were to go toward a railway extension and the casino fronted the costs of the additional cops, infrastructural needs, etc. that would be - maybe, just maybe - I could get behind that. A rail extension to New Bedford may just be enough to cover the costs of allowing a casino there.

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