Interesting political move here, because it has the potential to have the following impacts (among others I’m sure):
1. Allows Romney to weaken the Pike, which he has wanted to do for a long time.
2. Puts the “buck” more squarely in the Executive Branch. This could cut both ways. On the one hand, if things aren’t fixed soon, we all know where to point blame. If things go well, Romney can claim to be the savior. Or if things continue to be as muddled (blame-wise), it won’t make a lick of difference in the public will still be mad as hell at everybody.
But on the other hand, if Dems win in November, this baby is in their lap, and they can be held accountable.
But if Romney gets this bill through, the blame for a slow fix will surely be focused on Healey by her opponent(s) this fall.
3. If the Legislature doesn’t pass it, allows Romney and Healey to blame them and lump them in w/ the Pike in terms of being who we should blame for the problem. This would jibe well with Healey’s political strategy.
I think if this bill gets introduced, it passes. This could, and probably should, be the beginning of the end for the separate Turnpike Authority.
That being said, I must say that in terms of road quality, the Pike is simply one of the best roads to drive on in the Northeast. It’s always well paved with what appears to be better pavement than other roads. I actually love driving out west on the Pike – it’s scenic and fast. Yes, the Pike “extension” from Weston to Boston has its periodic challenges, and the traffic is bad. But compared to, say, Route 1 Southbound coming into the Tobin bridge, it’s a great ride. (I think that curvy stretch coming into Chelsea has been improved recently, though, right? But isn’t the Bridge still a bumpy nightmare?)
I remember as a kid driving back to southern NE from skiing in Vermont with my parents and when we’d cross into Mass. from VT, the roads (usually I-91) would always get drastically better. My parents would always say “Yup, you can thank Tip O’Neill for these roads! Too bad Tip’s legacy is going through rough times now – after all, he’s the one who got the Feds committed to the point of no return on the Big Dig.