Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Punting Transportation

I'm not the only one who's realized this sales tax (should it get through the Senate veto-proof) fixes nothing in terms of our transportation woes, be it the MBTA, Pike or the actual infrastructure crisis.
The House plan to raise the state sales tax could create some short-term relief for commuters anxious about toll hikes and MBTA fare increases in the coming year, but it would do little to halt the larger crisis that has made transportation a top issue on Beacon Hill, advocates and observers say.

"If the public thinks that, 'Oh, this sales tax is going to solve all the problems,' it won't," said Eric Bourassa, a public transit advocate for the Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group. "It might improve the short-term problems, but it might just push them off into the future."
Emphasis mine. We need a little less special teams work on Beacon Hill and a little more addressing of our fundamental problems. As I said yesterday,
DeLeo may claim to be trying to fix [our state's problems] through this sales tax hike, but what does it actually accomplish? Does it fix our transportation system? No. Does it pay to pave the roads and fix the bridges we need? No. Does it give cities and towns the tools they need to solve their own problems? No. This sales tax is a policy without a goal, never mind a vision. It doesn't seek to fix anything. It's just raising taxes for the sake of raising taxes -- throwing some money at our problems, without rolling up our sleeves and trying to fix them, then absolving ourselves from any of the responsibilities.
I guess whether or not state government acts like an adult crafts policy that actually seeks to fix our fundamental problems is now up to the State Senate - the very same chamber that screamed "reform before revenue" when this state was contemplating revenues that would actually fix our problems. Now that it's revenues that won't, we'll see if their actions match their rhetoric.

Call your legislators, especially your Senator. Demand that whatever passes includes the necessary reforms and funding to solve the MBTA's debt, prevent future toll hikes (if not get rid of tolls altogether) and begins to address our aging infrastructure, which will only become more costly and inconvenient to fix the longer we delay. Your calls will make a difference.

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