According to the report released yesterday, Massachusetts is in a very bad spot financially and will need to add new tolls to keep the transportation infrastructure up to speed. I can easily believe the amount of the deficit, but I'm very skeptical that throwing more money into it is the solution.
The Boston Herald summarized the report, "It also found that
bloated costs, sketchy financial practices and a startling lack of
resources are impeding efforts to maintain major highways, bridges and
rail systems that are deteriorating badly." Obviously, the Boston Globe summary is bit less colorful, but it isn't much different.
Options being thrown out are higher tolls, new tolls, increased gas taxes, and public-private partnerships, whatever they are (Lexus lanes?). Totally wrong approach, if you ask me.
If the system is broken, more money will just go to waste. Instead, we first need to fix the system. This will mean firing lots of state and authority employees who are overpaid and underworked. This will mean telling the unions, "No, you can't have another raise." This will mean slashing retiree health benefits. That's a start.
While we're thinking about it, how about easing regulation and lowering fees and taxes to draw more business into the state? We've seen companies flee Massachusetts in droves. We need to be attracting them if we're to create jobs.
Of course, with Deval Patrick in power, that approach won't be considered. He's surrounded by like-minded tax raisers. As proof that the fees and taxes approach is a one-way street, I see that the Globe notes the Tobin Bridge is making money. I don't hear anyone talking about lowering those tolls.
We're in deep trouble. Taking more money from our pockets to pay the lazy incompetents at the various departments and authorities is insane. No one rational would set out on that course.
Watch it happen.