Went to the Lynn Turnpike hearing tonight. There were so many people, so much anger, I almost felt bad for the membership of the Turnpike Authority. Almost.
The thing is, these people hold a lot of influence - if they want to, anyway. The legislature often does what's asked of them by whomever is perceived to be the authority on that subject. How could they not? For example, when the Secretary of State said no to same-day voter registration, what is a no-brainer then stalled in the state house and hasn't quite gained enough traction on Beacon Hill to pass again all these years later. If, for example, the Turnpike Authority had decided to publicly ask for major transportation reform that's good for the people of this state and tore down the tolls, then it would pass in the State House in a New York minute.
So, no pity. They've created this mess; they've avoided real solutions for years; they've allowed their agency to exist behind a curtain. This wrath is all their own.
So the big movement in this state will be to "tear down those tolls," channeling the voice of one of my least-favorite Presidents as he had one of his few good quotes. It's long since time that the working people of the many struggling North Shore cities and towns have the same opportunity to succeed and survive as people from other parts of the state. A $1800/year extra tax to get through a tunnel when others don't have to pay it is not equal opportunity or social justice for a region of the state that has suffered as the rest of the state has boomed.
The pure anger in the North Shore and Metro West will fuel reform, because people are going to park their cars on the road before they pay $7 to pass the Sumner. This genie the Turnpike Authority let out of the lamp isn't going back in, not until the last toll is gone.