The Back Story

Walsh’s transportation to-do list

Walsh’s transportation to-do list

It’s a unique moment to address the city’s inequities

In the aftermath of a massive general election victory by Boston Mayor Marty Walsh – and recognizing the political capital that goes along with that – it seems a good time to assess the opportunities for meaningful progress on a number of initiatives that have the potential to set Boston and the region on an irrevocable path toward a(...)

Read More »

MBTA overnight bus service a tough sell 

MBTA overnight bus service a tough sell 

Absent financial help, project unlikely to proceed 

The MBTA put off action this week on an overnight bus service pilot project, and a review of the underlying numbers suggests the initiative will have a hard time gaining traction without someone other than the T kicking in additional money.  The debate shows how difficult it is for the MBTA to expand operations in tight economic times without strong demand for(...)

Read More »

MBTA still having problems with some contracts

MBTA still having problems with some contracts

Collision-avoidance system, paratransit call center are 2 examples 

Two years ago, when the Green Line extension ballooned in cost from $2 to $3 billion, the project highlighted the MBTA’s inability to hire competent contractors and to oversee their work to a satisfactory completion.  The Green Line extension now appears to be back on track; the price has been pared back to $2.3 billion and a new team has been put in place to(...)

Read More »

Rick Perry links pipelines, natural security

Rick Perry links pipelines, natural security

Region's grid operator to release fuel security study next month

THERE WAS MORE NEWS out of Washington this week suggesting that the federal government could intervene to override local opposition to natural gas pipelines in order to protect national security. According to press reports, Energy Secretary Rick Perry singled out New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his political opposition to building new pipeline capacity in(...)

Read More »

Could feds pave way for new Mass. gas project?

Could feds pave way for new Mass. gas project?

Buzz builds on FERC priorities under Trump

 Environmental activists who oppose the construction of new natural gas pipeline capacity in New England are watching what’s going on at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in Washington with growing concern.  The federal agency last week overruled a decision by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation denying a water quality permit for the construction of a connection between an existing pipeline and a natural(...)

Read More »

MBTA rolls out new transit ambassadors

MBTA rolls out new transit ambassadors

Use of private contractor expected to save $4m a year

  THE MBTA IS STARTING to ramp up its new transit ambassador program, its latest bid to improve service using private contractors. Transit ambassadors, wearing bright red shirts emblazoned with the T logo and the words “Questions? Ask Me!” on the back, help riders with any problems they may have. The new ambassadors, who work(...)

Read More »

Walsh, once an opponent, welcomes pot

Walsh, once an opponent, welcomes pot

Boston mayor makes plans for 40 or more retail shops

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh was among the most vocal opponents of the ballot question to legalize marijuana and, once it passed, complained that Massachusetts cities would become the default centers of the retail industry as smaller communities opted out of allowing the sale of pot inside their borders. Many smaller communities are moving to block(...)

Read More »

Rep joins unenrolled in-crowd 

Rep joins unenrolled in-crowd 

Athol lawmaker abandons Republican Party 

Rep. Susannah Whipps joined the political in-crowd this week, switching her party registration from Republican to unenrolled.  Statewide, unenrolled voters – those not affiliated with any political party – are taking over. They became the largest political designation in 1990 and an outright majority in 2008. They represent the most voters in 132 of the 160 House districts. In Whipps’s central Massachusetts district, 66 percent of the voters(...)

Read More »

Sizing up 3 options on ICE detainers

Sizing up 3 options on ICE detainers

Does Baker’s approach represent middle ground?

Debate over immigration policy has bubbled up for years at the federal level, and now the recent decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in the case of Lunn v. Commonwealth has brought it to the forefront for state legislators, too. Attention has coalesced around three bills, each touching on a similar set of issues,(...)

Read More »

Does web browsing leave a public record?

Does web browsing leave a public record?

Dispute with Baker administration heads to Healey

THE STATE’S SUPERVISOR of public records says a state employee’s web browsing history is a public record, and has asked Attorney General Maura Healey to order the Baker administration to turn the information over to a reporter. The case represents another attempt by state officials to determine what a public record is in an increasingly(...)

Read More »