We cannot defend excessive speeding on our Massachusetts roads. However, the proposal to turn State Troopers assigned to the Massachusetts Turnpike into revenue agents is outright wrong.
Entrapping motorists, levying fines for speeding for the purpose of revenue and not safety, is a moral insult to those who support integrity in government. The support, respect and credibility for State Trooper professionals performing their duties will only be challenged by the victims of the forthcoming motorist traffic ticket gouging. Their action could lead to further higher insurance costs for unfairly victimized violators by this ruse to get another $1.2 million in revenue for continuous failed Turnpike management.
The Turnpike Board, by taking this action to cover up continuous failures and bad financial judgments by now mandating these forthcoming revenue speed traps, reaches a new depth of government failure. This action further alienates Massachusetts Government by implementing this rip off of the general public for the sole purpose of applying a temporary band aid for the ongoing shoddy construction cost overrun bills of the Big Dig.
The mismanagement by politically appointed turnpike board members and authority managers hired through a nonmerit patronage system of hiring is the root cause for the Big Dig continuous failings. This, coupled with private sector, no-bid awarded construction management contracts to the likes of Bechtel – and the additional chosen privately engaged no bid subcontractors campaign contributors – only adds to the constant drain of the Massachusetts treasury and pocketbooks of the citizens.
The Democratic governors of the past and the present just do not seem to get it. The previous Republican governors did not get it also, as witnessing and analyzing the failures of the Big Dig construction management and the Turnpike administration under their tenures.
The Associated Press recently quoted Turnpike Board member Michael Angelini allegedly jokingly by stating, “I’ll be careful driving,” relative to the new so-called revenue speed traps. This alleged no-joke comes from a most prominent Worcester Attorney from the prestigious Worcester law firm Bowditch and Dewey that does so much business representing state government established entities as well as special interest clients going before various state agencies and courts. Angelini was the lead person on newly-elected Governor Patrick’s transition team.
Is Angelini’s approving this projected $1.2-million increase in traffic enforcement fines by State Troopers using their strong weapon giving out ticket quota fines from Stockbridge to Boston, the policy that taxpaying citizens who voted for Gov. Patrick and entourage expected to fund the every increasing Big Dig deficit failures? This is a sad message and further discrimination for the toll road users who travel west to east in Massachusetts. However, those living and traveling North or South of Boston get a free ride again as there is no Turnpike or State Troopers assigned having mandated speed traps for revenue raising proposes.
The promises made by the former longtime turnpike chair, John Driscoll, who worked quite diligently to make good on promises to retire the original turnpike bonds to make the road a free highway, and later saw new ones made again and again by both Democratic and Republican administrations to perpetuate the folly, is unfortunate. Also, the pronunciation by the former House Chair of the Joint Committee on Transportation and subsequent special interest transportation lobbyist when departing the Legislature Steven J. Karol that the Turnpike would never pay for the Big Dig certainly turns out to be false.
The actions of the so-called independent politically appointed Turnpike Board does not bode well for the driving public and businesses who must use the Massachusetts Turnpike.