Let’s get the casino talk out of the way. Talk about the casinos didn’t take up that much time and attention at the forum, but it was mentioned a couple of times. Murray specifically mentioned them as a way of recapturing revenues currently lost to Connecticut and Rhode Island gambling ventures.
We know that revenues from the casinos are designed to lower property taxes. Specifically, half of the revenues will go to that goal. We’ve also heard about the health care fund of 2.5% of casino revenues. A large portion of the remainder — possibly all of it (I didn’t quite catch what he said) is going to go towards repairing our transportation infrastructure, to the tune of over $200 million per year.
A gentleman whose name escaped me, but is active in transportation issues in Marlborough, pointed out that there’s the possibility of creating up to 100,000 more jobs in the MetroWest area, if only the roads were up to it. Shouldn’t we be looking at that instead of casinos?
Murray’s response was to the effect that it is, of course, not strictly one or the other. They’re looking at 495/90 area issues, but they can’t ignore the 24,000 jobs the casinos would create.
Other important topics were also discussed. How can we encourage more use of public transportation, and get public transportation available in a larger part of the state? Do we have the workforce available to repair our transportation in a timely fashion?
For the blow-by-blow, as quick as I could type at least, see my live-blog effort at MetroLeft.