Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Day of No

Wednesday must be "no" day for transportation in Massachusetts.
  • No Tolls for Interstate 93 Drivers
  • No Raises to T executive employees who earn less than $70,000 per year
The Telegram & Gazette ran a brief article this morning about the I-93 toll proposal. Mass Pike drivers, who unfortunately live West of Boston and thus outside of the political realm in Massachusetts, will continue footing the Big Dig project. These are enhancements that I-93 drivers probably take better advantage of than those of us who live West of the city.

Mary Connaughton, a Mass Pike Board Member, feels that this announcement effectively ends any attempt at toll equity.

Sen. Steven Baddour from Methuen (who I'm beginning to not really like, mainly because I disagree with his stance on a range of transportation issues), of course is thrilled that the prospective tolls will not be imposed on I-93 drivers.

Could we please have some transportation parity here in Massachusetts?

I can't find an article to support this online, but during this morning's newscast on WCVB-TV Channel 5, the report mentioned that the State Secretary of Transportation, Bernard Cohen, had asked for a traffic study to be conducted on I-93. Due to the political ramifications of adding tolls to 93, the study was not completed. Instead, the state used data from a few years ago.

I'm really ticked off about this. I don't understand why North Shore and South Shore drivers get a free ride into Boston, where as everyone who lives West of Boston need to continue to pay to get into the city. It is so unfair.

In other news, the 9% raise that the MBTA announced last week is off the table. According to an article posted last night to, Secretary Cohen sent MBTA GM Dan Grabauskas a letter asking him to immediately halt the raises.
Cohen's proposal would spare some of the lower paid employees, giving them a partial raise, while asking executives to go without one. The MBTA has an $8.2 billion debt and had to reach into reserves to stay afloat this year.

“This request is a necessary and important step as we leave no stone unturned in restoring fiscal health to all transportation agencies and deliver high quality and cost effective services to citizens of the Commonwealth," Cohen said in his statement.

Grabauskas also announced that we would voluntarily decline the cost of living increase he was due under his contract this year, as would his general counsel.


Pig Roaster said...

That's awful big of Danny G to refuse that "cost of living" increase. He must be preparing to tighten that belt of his - living off of his $250k+ salary must be tough.

Anonymous said...

I think it really time for Grabauskas to leave. I have not been particularly convinced that he is incompetent, but now I AM convinced.

He should go and someone replace him who have some customer service sensitivity, and a whole lot less arrogance...he is embattled with his management and I hope he does not get to hold on...probably only $$ keeps him there at the MBTA. If we are lucky, he is looking!

So what if he is declining a $10,000 cost of living adjustment. He doesn't deserve it.

Amy O' said...

Not all North Shore drivers get a free ride - if you use the Sumner or the Tobin, you pay too... it costs us $3.00/day... and that's with the Fast Lane discount.

NoShore said...

South Shore commuters get the free ride. We get the Tobin or tunnel - unless you want to add a half hour to an hour to your drive and try 93.

Keith said...

Yesterday (8/20) afternoon, featured a link to Train Stopping on their front page in regards to this thread.

It's actually still on the front page this morning.

Anonymous said...

I hate to state the obvious but the mass pike already has toll booths. Fair or not, is it common sense to start another construction project in order to make it more "fair" to pay off an even more expensive construction project? I don't think so...

Keith said...

I think it's totally fair. Why should those of us who live in the Western suburbs and further west have to pay for roadways that basically improved the commute for those that live north and south of Boston? That in itself is unfair.

In order to keep the Feds happy, the Republican administrations of the past umpteen years decided to just keep the Turnpike Authority alive by placing all this debt on the Pike. Not only did the Pike become a haven for political hacks, but it became the rug under which the financial burdens of the Big Dig got swept under. How fair is that?

Anonymous said...

It is ridiculous that people who use the Tobin and the Pike have to pay while South Shore drivers and those coming from 93N don't have to. Especially when you consider the benefits of the Big Dig are most beneficial to those who live right around Boston or drive through the city by using 93.