Stephanie Pollack, Associate Director of Research for the Dukakis Center, says the MBTA needs to upgrade equipment and to market to new riders if suburbanites are to choose rails over roads.
By KATHARINE Q. SEELYE | The New York Times
BOSTON — Later this spring, Bostonians eager to flee to Cape Cod for the weekend will have an option other than sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic for 70 miles and fuming along with everyone else.
Starting May 24, they can hop a train to Hyannis, where regional buses, ferries and rental cars will await to whisk them out to the beaches, islands and wind-swept dunes.
The train, the first passenger service to the cape since 1995, is one small piece of a major $13 billion transportation overhaul envisioned by Gov. Deval Patrick. That overhaul is aimed chiefly at repairing and upgrading worn-out bridges, roads and commuter lines in Massachusetts, but about 20 percent of it would go toward reviving train service to the cape and elsewhere in the state.
Mr. Patrick said that upgrading these in-state routes would spur economic development. It would also provide important links for Amtrak’s long-range plans to establish high-speed train service throughout New England. Read More
By Brian Ballou | The Boston Globe | February 21, 2013
More than 1,000 high school students from across Massachusetts marched from Faneuil Hall to the State House Thursday, calling for increased funding for youth jobs and asking that more companies create summer positions for teens.
“This is important for me to be here, begging these legislators for more jobs, because we are the future,” said Sheraine Blake, 18, a senior at the Boston Community Leadership Academy, as she stood on the State House steps. “And to save kids from being out on the street and doing things they shouldn’t be doing, why not open up more jobs for us?”
“It will cut down on drugs and all the violence,” she added.
The students, who hailed from at least a dozen cities and towns, chanted “We want jobs” as they wound through downtown on their way to the State House. Once there, they were briefed on how to approach elected officials about their concerns. State Representative Elizabeth A. “Liz” Malia, a Democrat who represents Jamaica Plain, met with the students, as did several other state legislators. Read More
Four views on whether there have been enough reforms to justify Patrick’s proposed tax increase
Globe Correspondents | The Boston Globe | February 17, 2013
Yes: Pair revenue, reform
Since 1998, the Commonwealth has reduced personal and corporate income tax rates, costing the state $2.5 billion a year — leaving little to pay current bills or deal with $80 billion in past unfunded liabilities, let alone make critical education and transportation investments for our future. Yet with the public demanding reform before revenue, the governor and Legislature have been hesitant to increase taxes.
Reform is precisely what the Commonwealth has been doing. Major changes to the public employee health-insurance system and public pensions will save billions of dollars over the next 30 years. Accountability in our K-12 schools will enhance classroom quality. The Turnpike Authority was merged into the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, and the “Fast 14” project has sped up bridge repairs.
Thousands of other efficiencies, big and small, have been implemented, from replacing police officers with civilian flaggers to moving 3 million Registry of Motor Vehicle transactions online. Operating under a new strict statewide performance management system, every executive office has been cutting costs. With this focus on efficiency, state government employment has grown by just 0.3 percent over the past two years, while total non-farm employment has grown by 1.9 percent. State government is shrinking as a share of the state’s economy. Read More