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Has anyone else seen this in the news?

Pike board acts to end tolls west of Route 128

If you don't know, the MassPike is the main east-west route across Massachusetts for commuters, with heavy use between Boston and points west.  I-95 (or as the locals still call it, 128) rings the city to the west.

The Massachusetts Turnpike Authority voted yesterday to remove all tolls west of I-95 in Massachusetts yesterday.  You'd think with all the problems we've been having with our road infrastructure lately, this would be a bad idea, but of course you can guess who thought it was a good one.

Strangely, at the press conference, Mitt Romney was NOT the one making the announcement; he took the back seat to Kerry Healey.  After living almost full time in Massachusetts throughout the disastrous Romney/Healey administration, I can honestly say that I do not remember a single incidence of Healey heading a high profile press conference, ever.  It seems so strainge too, seeing as Mitt has been trying to brush up his profile for his anticipated presidential run.  Maybe just this one time, he's not thinking of himself, and instead will let Healey have a little time in the spotlight.

This is obviously a ploy to purchase the votes of metro-west commuters by dangling a few hundred dollars in front of them less than three weeks before the election, while sticking it to the rest of the states residents who either don't live 50 miles from where they work or don't have a car at all.

The best part was what she had to say about the decision.

``There is no rational argument for maintaining this wasteful system."

Hey Kerry, how about the fact that we will probably have to spend millions to fix the big dig you and Mitt ignored and possibly lied about for the past four years.  Where are we going to get the money for that?  Your other tax cuts? UPDATE: Make sure to watch the debate tonight amongst the gubernatorial candidates. Channel 5 in Boston, 7-8pm (hat tip to mem from somerville - thanks!) Let's see if Healey can destroy the republican party a little more. She may give Katherine Harris a run for her money in the race to be anointed "Creulla deVille."

Originally posted to NHabroad on Thu Oct 19, 2006 at 07:07 AM PDT.

Poll

How will this decision affect Deval Patrick?

33%19 votes
19%11 votes
47%27 votes

| 57 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  It was editorialized in the Globe today (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Marek, mayan, serrano, Mae

    that Romney's new appointees to the Mass. Turnpike Authority voted to end all Pike tolls west of Route 128 effective June 30th.  However, they put off the final diecision until Nov.15, one week after the election.  And of course it has to be passed by the state legislature.  This is another case of politics as usual for the Republicans. The Globe called it a campaign season gimmick.

  •  I'm hopeful people will see through this... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mbair, serrano

    It's quite the cynical ploy and should be exposed as such.  

    But my favorite topic in this race is Eddie Mac, the swindler and con-artist who made his bones breaking legs for Whitey Bulger.  As recently as 2004, he admitted conning a woman in Texas out of her life savings - now he's swindling a small church in Boston out of their one main asset, an apartment building worth $30 million.  Healy, the criminologist, and Romney recently honored this hoodlum for his work swindling the church out of their millions...

  •  pointless pandering to western MA voters (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mbair, mayan

    so obviously political orchestration,

    I think people are getting disgusted by the stench of desperate actions by the republicans in this state.

    •  Tim Murray (0+ / 0-)

      should be able to deliver Worcester, anyway. But it's the suburban commuter voters that he's pandering to, don't you think? They're the ones who are on the Pike twice a day.

      "Foul deeds will become visible, no matter how deeply they are hidden from men's eyes." - Hamlet

      by Mae on Thu Oct 19, 2006 at 07:37:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I think this move was all about Mitt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mae

    and he let Healey take the spotlight because he knows 1) She won't win, 2) The tolls will not be eliminated.    I think Mitt was just trying to get his bonafides with our neighbors in NH.  He can tell them all how if only MA had voted Republican we would have been able to get rid of all those pesky tolls.

  •  Too much spent on transportation? (0+ / 0-)

    Someone needs to ask Healey why she thinks we need to reduce the amount of money we spend on transportation projects or does she envision more cuts in local aid to make up the revenue loss?

    Coming on the heels of a Republican commission that just recommended ADDING tolls and increasing the gas tax because we don't have sufficient revenues to pay for transporation needs, I think very few people will not see this as the political ploy it is.

    By the way, the "final" vote on this is scheduled AFTER the election. And it takes effect next July. I suspect it is designed as a poison pill to spoil Patrick's all-but-inevitable victory. It puts him in the posiiton of having to "raise" and/or reinstate tolls that the good Republicans were nice enough to abolish. It appears that the Republicans are already looking ahead to 2010.

  •  This might give her another 1-2 pts... (0+ / 0-)
    ... but she needs a lot more than that.

    I look forward to seeing next Wednesday's televised debate.  (Oct 25)

  •  What's bizarre... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lalo456987

    ... is that they're eliminating tolls on MetroWest.  Not Central Mass (Worcester - Springfield), where it might have some logic (this isn't the heavily traveled stretch from 495 to Logan) and little financial impact.

    No, they're aiming straight at the Weston-Worcester crowd, and shoppers en route to Shopper's World and Natick Mall.  Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

    This might keep them from losing voters in Marlborough and Sudbury to Christy Mihos.

    But even they remember the 495 widening promised by Mitt.  What happened?  Diddly crap.  People are still driving in the breakdown lanes on 495 and on 128 between 95 (Dedham) and Exit 19 (Needham).  

    Muffy already had the Weston vote; I don't think the average MetroWest voter is gonna fall for this.  Between the property tax rises and the non-Pike roads, they know better.

    As for rolling the Turnpike Authority into the Highway Department, well, it worked so well for the MDC into the DCR, didn't it?

    The two most common elements in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity.

    by FlyingToaster on Thu Oct 19, 2006 at 07:48:09 AM PDT

    •  thanks for the details (0+ / 0-)

      your analysis makes sense

    •  Yes... (0+ / 0-)

      I think this is designed to deflate Mihos, as (if I recall correctly) turnpike toll elimination was something he always championed.

      But, my own guess is this is going to be a very minor (or non-existent) issue in the campaign.

    •  The current rush-hour Pike drivers will be sorry (0+ / 0-)

      in the long run. Sure, it's nice to save on tolls...but the increased traffic will turn the Pike into even more of a rush-hour nightmare than it is now, in the 128 to 495 stretch. And I wouldn't be surprised if you start getting significant slowdowns in the 495 to Worcester stretch.

      It's funny that the Turnpike Authority is claiming environmental benefits for removing toll plazas. I would think that the waits at individual toll plazas will be offset by the greatly increased traffic and consequent time spent in traffic jams by extended rush-hour car loads.

      © sardonyx; all rights reserved

      by sardonyx on Thu Oct 19, 2006 at 08:56:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  As I recall (0+ / 0-)

    The only reason there were tolls on the pike in the first place was to pay the cost of building said pike.  That is, the only way they were able to pass the bill allowing the tolls when the pike was being built was by agreeing to end the tolls when the pike was finally paid for.  I think it was 2 years ago they hit that level, and decided to keep the tolls after all.  Apparently this is what they were saving them for.

    If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear. - George Orwell (-9.75, -9.03)

    by nilocjin on Thu Oct 19, 2006 at 08:08:04 AM PDT

    •  Hmmm (0+ / 0-)

      I can't find anything to back up my claim, other than my recollection of a WBUR news program I heard once when I was driving to Boston (either from CT or Worcester, can't recall).  Lacking evidence, I have to withdraw my comment.

      If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear. - George Orwell (-9.75, -9.03)

      by nilocjin on Thu Oct 19, 2006 at 08:25:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  You must be joking (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NHabroad

    Reminds me of when Weld used a similar tactic against Kerry in his 1996 Senate race (take away a bunch of tollbooths on the Pike)...

    ...and then he put them back a few months after the election, in new locations.

    "I have powers! Political powers!" -Homer Simpson

    by Arjun Jaikumar on Thu Oct 19, 2006 at 08:17:22 AM PDT

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