Follow our weekly podcast on iTunes, Spotify, SoundCloud, or anywhere else you get your podcasts. New episode every Monday. 

Episode 48: Plotting the future at DOT

Scott Hamwey’s job is figuring out the state’s transportation future. As the Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s manager of long-range planning, he is charged with trying to plot a course for the next 25 years.

In a Codcast talk with Josh Fairchild and James Aloisi of TransitMatters, Hamwey focuses on both the short and long term. The short-term is the MBTA service expansion nobody’s talking about — extending the Silver Line bus to East Boston and Chelsea, providing a one-seat ride for residents of those communities to the Seaport District. Adding a little spice to the ride, the SL3 will make use of bus rapid transit, or BRT, over a Chelsea railroad corridor so it will feel more like a subway ride.

Episode 47: Probation, patronage, and power struggles

Patronage, no matter how blatant or unsavory, is not a crime. At least that’s what a federal appeals court ruled recently in overturning the convictions of former Probation commissioner Jack O’Brien and two of his colleagues, who doled out jobs at the agency to curry favor with lawmakers.

William Fick, one of the attorneys who represented O’Brien during his initial trial (which started three years ago today) and on his successful appeal, joined the Codcast to share his takeaway on the court judgments.

Episode 46: No Boston Olympics, revisited

It was just two years ago that the Greater Boston region was in the thick of a high-stakes showdown over whether to proceed with a bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics. In January 2015, Boston was designated the US entry in the global competition for the 2024 Games.

It was all downhill from there.

The bid’s boosters seemed to do just about everything wrong, from adopting a secretive approach to bid documents in a city that demanded everything be put on the table to the mayor disparaging residents with the nerve to ask tough questions as a tiny group of naysaying cranks — “10 people on Twitter.”

By July, it was over and the bid was withdrawn. It was an astonishing fall given the set of Boston political and business power brokers lined up behind the effort. In the end, the public was widely skeptical of the idea, which would have put the city and possibly the state on the hook for any cost overruns. No one did more to plant those doubts than No Boston Olympics, a small group of 30-something-year-old Bostonians who became convinced of the folly of the Olympic pursuit.

One of the group’s co-founders, Chris Dempsey, has now authored an account of the drama together with Smith College economist Andrew Zimbalist. No Boston Olympics: How and Why Smart Cities Are Passing on The Torch is a great telling of a still-fresh piece of Boston history. They came in to talk about the book for this week’s Codcast.

Episode 45: Moulton doesn’t mince words

The phrase “mealy-mouthed politician” often seems redundant, so closely do we associate political figures with an aversion to direct answers that cut through the usual fog.

That does not describe Seth Moulton, the second-term Democratic congressman from Salem. Moulton answers questions with a degree of candor that is refreshing and sometimes jarring.

When CommonWealth sat down with him for this Conversation interview in November 2014, just after his election, Moulton said he was now wearing the politician badge reluctantly. When Bruce Mohl and I talked to him for this week’s Codcast, he still seemed to be in full candor mode.

Episode 43: Water shuttle coming to Seaport District

Patrick Sullivan, executive director of the Seaport TMA, estimates 4,000 people on a typical weekday come into North Station and then take shuttles to the congested Seaport District. He said his organization hopes to eliminate a lot of that vehicle traffic by launching a water shuttle between Lovejoy Wharf and the South Boston waterfront this summer. Test runs showed the trip would take about 13 minutes.

Sullivan, participating in the Codcast with James Aloisi and Marc Ebuna of TransitMatters, said Silver Line service from South Station to the Seaport District is at capacity most weekday mornings, but there are no plans to expand the 32-bus fleet. The three discussed ways to boost capacity by creating dedicated lanes or adjusting traffic signals to speed up the buses.

Episode 42: Missed opportunities with new K-12 plan

Massachusetts is about to submit to the US Department of Education its plan for monitoring and holding schools accountable under the new Every Student Succeeds Act, the law passed in late 2015 that replaced the No Child Left Behind law.

The new law, which, like the No Child statute, is really a reauthorization of landmark 1965 legislation creating a bigger federal role in overseeing and funding education, gives states more leeway in how they hold schools and districts accountable for improving student outcomes.

MassINC research director Ben Forman and Linda Noonan, executive director of the Massachusetts Alliance for Education, say the state plan mainly holds pat.

Episode 41: Goldberg wants to keep her sight on pot

State Treasurer Deborah Goldberg says when she talks to counterparts around the country, there is one aspect of her job that stops them in their tracks: Her office’s regulation of the state’s liquor industry.

Goldberg now has another mood-altering substance to oversee with the passage of the ballot initiative to legalize recreational marijuana. Under the wording of the ballot question, the treasurer’s office will appoint a three-member Cannabis Control Commission that will form rules and regulations and report to the treasurer. Goldberg joined The Codcast to talk about her thoughts on ramping up oversight, which she said she’s been planning for since learning about the ballot question 15 months ago.

Episode 40: Getting around in the age of Trump

Beth Osborne, a senior advisor for Washington-based Transportation for America, was in town recently to discuss transportation needs with state officials and policy advocates. Osborne, a former undersecretary in the Department of Transportation and a longtime congressional aide to several lawmakers, said Trump’s “skinny budget” isn’t going to give a lot of answers for transportation, at least in the immediate future.

Osborne joined Transit Matters board members Josh Fairchild and James Aloisi for this week’s edition of The Codcast, and they talked about the uncertainty of just what transportation means in the Trump administration. Trump promised during his campaign and in his February address to Congress that he plans to launch a $1 trillion infrastructure program, music to the ears of transportation officials and advocates. But Osborne cautioned not to start spending the money just yet.

Episode 39: A conversation with teeth in it

State Sen. Harriette Chandler of Worcester and state Rep. William “Smitty” Pignatelli of Lenox have introduced bills in the Legislature to create a new practitioner called “dental therapists,” a highly trained dental hygienist who can perform basic procedures such as fillings, simple extractions of non-impacted teeth, and x-ray readings.

Dr. Ray Martin, president of the dental society and a dentist with a private practice in Mansfield, joined The Codcast to talk about the measure along with One-time gubernatorial candidate Dr. Don Berwick, a pediatrician who was administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in the Obama administration.