Hello RMG readers,
Yesterday, the House of Representatives debated well into the night about a transportation reform bill. Only seven members voted against it, including me.
Here’s a statement I put out explaining my vote and my concerns about the bill. I thought you might be interested in reading it.
Talk to you again soon.
State Representative (R – Shrewsbury)
STATEMENT OF REPRESENTATIVE KARYN POLITO
ON HOUSE TRANSPORTATION BILL
Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed a transportation bill that will create an even bigger bureaucratic tangle and does nothing to alleviate burdens on Massachusetts motorists. Despite some worthy provisions, it’s not the real reform it’s billed to be.
The bill eliminates the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority, but in name and form only. The fact remains that we will still have a Turnpike and there will still be the same tolls on the roadway, and Massachusetts drivers will still be at the mercy of a small, politically-appointed board able to raise tolls on a whim, without legislative oversight.
There is also no protection for western toll payers, the same people who have been paying a disproportionate share of Big Dig debt for so long. Under this bill, those drivers could continue to face higher tolls while tolls for Boston area commuters are frozen or reduced. That’s not fair, and it’s not the reform we’ve been looking for.
Although the bill does have some positive elements, like reducing transportation agency pension abuses and making transportation agency employees part of the GIC, I voted against it because I believe it was a missed opportunity to achieve the real reform we need to fix our roadways, protect taxpayers and improve the operation of state government. We need to do better if we want to restore trust, confidence and integrity in state government.