If you haven’t read this outstanding op-ed by David D’Alessandro, go get yourself some of this. D’Alessandro was the author of the blistering 2009 report that put the onus squarely on legislators to act on MBTA financing. And he’s not holding back now. There are so many good bits it’s impossible to excerpt, but here you go:
DeLeo recently said we have to “take a look top to bottom at the MBTA.’’ Yet just since he has been speaker, there have been two major “reforms,” and the result is that the MBTA maintenance and repair needs are 100 percent higher — and climbing. DeLeo spent years and untold political capital on trying to save a few hundred jobs at Suffolk Downs by promoting a casino in East Boston while the MBTA continued to crumble. Perhaps a little more time and energy worrying about how hundreds of thousands of citizens get to work and school everyday was in order.
…The legislative leadership needs to stop its excuses, stop bloviating, stop shifting blame, and accept responsibility for its decades of failures. They need to give the governor whatever he needs and adopt a new mantra: “We will fix it or you should throw us out.”
I mean, That’s. What. I’m. Saying.
#1: I actually disagree with D’Alessandro on T expansion: I don’t think the politics works unless you include new geographical areas that have something to gain from the T. And T expansion helps the low-carbon economy. You just have to pay for it.
#2. How much leverage does anyone have over DeLeo and Mariano? Short of a credible primary threat to either or them, I’m not seeing it. Even many of our “progressive” legislators are touting their new committee assignments, which of course they received in exchange for fealty to DeLeo — the one guy that makes funding the T impossible. It’s all fine and well to get a handful of nifty things for your constituents, but no senior center or health clinic or town square gazebo compares with people getting to work on time.
In any event, one gets the strong impressiion that DeLeo and Mariano are feeling very little pressure whatsoever from the back-benchers to fund the T. I’d love to be proven wrong on this.