UPDATE: Let's whip this up. Call or email your Reps and Senators (617) 722-2000 to get their position on police details, and report the results here in the comments. Some reps are on the record already; we'll keep track of them on the flip.
It was an extremely encouraging sign when Gov. Patrick, Sal DiMasi, Terry Murray and Joint Committee on Transportation Chairman Steve Baddour all stood up together to propose some important reforms to how we do transportation investments in MA. Famously, this included getting rid of police details at construction sites, in favor of flagmen, which pretty much every other state does at a fraction of the cost.
Now the police unions are flooding the legislature with protests, phone calls, and emails, protecting this bizarre and expensive little institution of having cops at every road construction site.
Now, $5 million/year that the state spends on the details is not that big a deal, although it may add up to many times that when you include local roads. But this is the test case for all the other important, cost-saving reforms that Murray has proposed. If the legislature rolls over for the police unions (again), then come the MBTA unions, with their cushy pension deal. Then come the toll collectors. Then come the contractors, who don't want the stricter oversight that Murray's bill would provide.
In other words, the legislature buckles, the special interests win, and it's back to business as usual. Big Dig Culture forever. Does it have to be that way?
Patrick, DiMasi, and Murray [and Baddour] have stepped up to change that; what other legislators will stand with them? And have we got their backs?
ANOTHER UPDATE/CORRECTION: Last night on NECN I said that the savings would be $100 million if you included local roads. That's not correct. According to the (conservative) Beacon Hill Institute, the savings could be $37-67 million. I conflated that with the $100 million/20 years figure. I apologize for the error. A million here, a million there …