March 11, 2005

Romney’s New Transit Plan

Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney unveiled what he called a 20-year, $30 billion transportation plan, which focuses on infrastructure repairs neglected during the Big Dig years as well as investments in public transit.

However, with just a couple of years left in his current term and no guarantees he'll be around after that, as well as questionable expectations most of the money will come from the federal government, it's unclear how much of the plan will actually be carried out.

Along with significant sums for bridge and road repair/improvement, the plan includes some support for public transportation. "Under Romney's plan, the state is promising to fund all expansion projects with federal and local help while the T concentrates on repairing and maintaining its existing system, which the plan says will cost $9 billion over the next two decades. Those T expansion projects include $756 million for the third phase of the Silver Line bus service and $314 million to extend the Blue Line to Lynn.," according to the Boston Globe.

"But [the plan] drew immediate skepticism from some quarters. Senator Mark C. Montigny, a New Bedford Democrat leading the push to bring commuter rail service to New Bedford and Fall River, said the plan is unrealistic in the current political and economic environment. 'A 20-year plan sounds wonderful, and normally it is,' he said. ''I'm a fan of thinking long term. The problem is . . . governors often look long-term, claim due diligence, and then they move on to Neverland, and the thing never gets implemented. ' "

The plan is posted on the Executive Office of Transportation Web site.

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