Charles D. Baker, a Republican who is challenging Patrick in the race for governor this year, called South Coast Rail “yet another example of overspending and overcommitting at a point in time when taxpayers are desperate for the Commonwealth to live within its means.’’Why is it that when this state wants to invest in economically struggling communities with hundreds of thousands of people, people like Baker think it's "overspending," but when the train's going through Newton, Needham, Beverly Farms and Concord, it's not? This state needs to face it: Charlie Baker just doesn't care about the have-not regions of the Commonwealth.
Having spent years of my life in New Bedford, I can attest to the fact that it's a vibrant, beautiful city with almost a 100,000 people living in it who all just want good, accessible jobs. With tons of things to do there, from the Whaling Museum to the art scene to Battleship Cove in Fall River to some of the most beautiful and picturesque beaches in the entire Commonwealth, there's also the possibility for a whole lot more tourism in the region that a rail could bring. The development of the South Coast rail system would be a huge boon for the region, linking it to both Boston and Providence, and would set the foundation for a new, bright economic future for the region that hasn't been seen since the turn of the last century, when New Bedford was the wealthiest city of its size across the entire country.
We can do this with what in the grand scheme of things is a modest investment, the size of which is made in the wars this country engages in practically every day -- but Charlie Baker wants to make a political sport of this and turn the election into full-scale GOP class warfare, trying to pit the rest of the state against people who are just asking for the pair of boots that could allow them to get some footing.
The thing is, I don't think it works. People want access to good public transportation. There are hundreds of thousands of people who use it from all over Boston, the Metro West, North and South Shores to get in the city for their jobs. We use it to visit the shops of Newburyport and Rockport. We use it to catch the big games. Those of us who don't use public transportation nearly every day probably know someone who does. It's time for Baker to get real and come up with solutions to bring Massachusetts forward, not excuses to send it back to the past.