Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Dukakis Gets Real on Rail

The Duke feels strongly about mass transit and intercity rail. Speaking with us on Left Ahead! today, he was delightfully candid and brimming with specific fixes.

Click the player below to hear the whole show. Head to Left Ahead! or iTunes to download the mp3 file.

Among his analysis was a solution to the crippling debt of our MBTA system. The legislature and previous Republican governors had linked our mass transit's fiscal health to a supposedly endlessly growing sales tax cut. That failed and was a terrible blunder, according to former Gov. Mike Dukakis.

He said he desperately need a workable mass transit. "If you want a first-class public transportation system, you got to pay for it," he added. His more rational solution is adding 6¢ to 9¢ to the long stagnant gas tax, devoting it to the T and commuter rail.

In addition to stopping the every-few-year rises in fares and garnering the huge environmental and other obvious benefits of fewer cars, he sees another huge plus. Maintaining and expanding the various rail systems would create thousands of good-paying jobs at at time we need them most. He cited the 10¢ gas tax bump when he was governor. His administration, he said, "turned it into a jobs bill, which it was."

Listen in to hear what he likes and dislikes about the current efforts. See also his co-authored piece on transportation reform that appeared in the Boston Globe. He has a very different take on the best way to manage it all, which he explains in the podcast as well.

Cross-post note: I'll duplicate this at Harrumph!

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1 comment:

Win said...

Honestly, I think we have decent axial transit in the greater Boston area. There are several lines radiating out from Boston that serve well.

What we need to start addressing is radial transit, which is almost non-existent. Here's my situation: I live in easy walking distance of an outer stop on the Haverhill commuter rail line. I work in Woburn, just off I-93. The Wakefield stop is impractically far from my office for me to take the commuter rail.

If I worked in Burlington, things would be worse. There is simply no radial mass transit from any commuter rail line to Burlington. Or to Lexington, or any of the other major business centers.

While I applaud the attention ot mass transit in general, it would be nice to see some thought to the issues or radial transit rather than strictly to axial transit.