Baker’s plea for patience on the T

Gov. Charlie Baker’s administration has spent three years whipping the MBTA into shape. Costs have been pared back and revenues have been increased — all so more money could be invested in long-range improvements.

But as the race for governor starts to heat up, Baker finds himself asking riders for more patience, saying his administration is dealing with decades of neglect at the MBTA. The governor called last Wednesday’s derailment, which knocked out the Red Line between JFK/UMass and Broadway stations for most of a day, not acceptable. But he promised big improvements over the next few years, particularly on the Red and Orange Lines.

On the Codcast, Setti Warren, the former mayor of Newton and a Democratic candidate for governor, and James Aloisi, the former secretary of transportation, said the MBTA needs to address its problems more quickly and more forcefully. Both called for more revenue for the T and both faulted Baker and House Speaker Robert DeLeo for resisting that effort.

Warren was much more strident in his criticism, calling Baker’s handling of the T a complete failure. He also said top management at the T needs to go. Warren several times said Baker ran for governor promising to fix the T, when in fact the T was not a major issue during the 2014 campaign. The transit system became a primary focus for Baker only after the full-scale collapse of the T during snowmageddon in early 2015.

Warren, who has made income inequality a centerpiece of his campaign, said that the governor is willing to consider a fare hike at the T that would disproportionately hurt low-income people while opposing the millionaire tax, which would impose a higher tax rate on people earning more than a million dollars a year. (Baker has been coy on the millionaire tax, making comments suggesting he opposes it without formally saying so.)

Aloisi said there is plenty of blame to go around for the T’s problems, but urged the state’s leaders to address the issues with a sense of urgency and creativity. He cited ways to raise money for the T without hiking broad-based taxes (see this article by Aloisi for details). And he criticized Baker for vetoing language in 2016 that would have sought federal money to launch a voluntary pilot program to assess whether a tax on vehicle miles traveled could be a viable alternative to a tax on gasoline sales.

“Why are we afraid of a volunteer pilot?” Aloisi asked.



Gov. Charlie Baker says he wants Massachusetts to join the States for Gun Safety Coalition, which will share data on people who have been disqualified from owning a gun. (WBUR)

Sen. Jamie Eldridge and Reps. Kate Hogan and Sean Garballey pitch a fix in the way birth certificates are provided to adoptees born between 1974 and 2008. (MetroWest Daily News)


State officials and Raynham police are in a standoff as the defiant department continues to refuse an order from the Secretary of State’s office to release a video of a chase that ended in a crash believed to involve the police chief. (The Enterprise)

Longtime residents of the Greenbush area of Scituate said their neighborhood is disappearing because of commercial construction, some of it triggered by access to the commuter rail terminus.(Patriot Ledger)

The Fall River City Council is challenging raises handed out by Mayor Jasiel Correia and the creation of two new administration positions. (Herald News)

The Brockton City Council has approved a measure for a home-rule petition to give the council the power to review properties seized for tax delinquencies that are put up for auction by the mayor. (The Enterprise)


The pressure on the Broward County sheriff to resign in the wake of the school shooting that killed 17 in Parkland, Florida, as many label his deputies the “Broward Cowards” as reports come in that armed members of the department did not initially enter the school during the shooting. (National Review)

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf takes Trump resistance to a new level, warning immigrants that a federal raid by Immigration and Customs Enforcement was imminent. (San Francisco Chronicle)

US Rep. Stephen Lynch, in a wide-ranging interview on guns and partisan politics, said President Trump has “divided the country in a way that I don’t think any other president has done in history.” (Keller@Large)

Trump wants to be briefed on plans for a military parade on Veteran’s Day. (U.S. News & World Report)


The California Democratic Party chose not to endorse incumbent US Sen. Dianne Feinstein as she seeks a fifth term. She is facing a challenge from a more liberal state senator. (Associated Press)

At a rally at Wachusetts Regional High School, Sen. Elizabeth Warren attacks the National Rifle Association. (Telegram & Gazette)


With a slew of new restaurants, Worcester is one of the hottest foodie destinations in New England. (Telegram & Gazette)

Some of the country’s biggest conservative donors are behind a case seeking to overturn union authority to collect dues that is set to be heard before the Supreme Court. (New York Times)


Maggie Simeone, who is teaching in Waltham and previously taught in Lawrence, says the state education funding formula is out of whack and creating have and have-not schools. (CommonWealth)

A Lowell Sun editorial criticizes the Lowell City Council for not focusing on what matters in the debate over a new high school.

Lasell College and Mount Ida College in Newton are considering merging. (Boston Globe)

Framingham will now issue a “Seal of Biliteracy” to students who graduate from the district’s bilingual education programs, certifying their fluency in two languages. (MetroWest Daily News)

Wheaton College in Norton has received a $10 million pledge from the Diana Davis Spencer Foundation, the largest in the school’s 183-year history, to establish a professorship in social entrepreneurship. (Chronicle of Philanthropy)


Health officials are alarmed by the rise in infant deaths. (Eagle-Tribune)

Rosemarie Day says her to-do list for 2018 includes protecting the Affordable Care Act and electing more women to office. (CommonWealth)

John Nucci, the former pol who now works as vice president for external affairs at Suffolk University, says he needs a new kidney. (Boston Globe) Ed Coppinger, Nucci’s longtime friend and former chief of staff, is waiting to hear if he’s a match. (Boston Herald)


The MBTA posts the job of chief customer experience officer, paying between $113,980 and $151,525. (MassLive)

Municipal officials want the Legislature to revisit the formula the T uses for assessments, saying they are not getting the services equal to what they pay. (Boston Herald)


It’s been a very bad year for right whales — no new births and a record number of deaths — and the prospect of extinction looms. (Boston Globe)

Mark LeBel, in the first of a three-part series, says Massachusetts is dragging its feet on grid modernization. (CommonWealth)

Nantucket officials are launching a “Stop the Straw” campaign in an effort to get restaurants and coffee shops to reduce the estimated 3 million straws they hand out during the summer, many of which end up in the ocean. (Cape Cod Times)


Matt Maddox, who took over as CEO of Wynn Resorts from Steve Wynn after he was accused of sexual misconduct, continues his campaign to convince regulators that the company is more than just one man and deserves to keep its casino licenses and possibly even its name. (Boston Globe) Maddox previously gave a nearly identical interview to the Associated Press.


Hundreds gathered on Sunday to mourn Deane Kenny Stryker, a medical student who was stabbed and killed on Saturday morning while studying at the Winchester public library. Stryker was allegedly killed by Jeffrey Yao, who, like Stryker, attended Winchester High School and was viewed by his neighbors as a dangerous person. (Boston Globe)

State Police shot one man and arrested five others in a crazed scene over the weekend as a group of 25 to 35 dirtbikers and ATV riders careened across the highway trying to avoid capture. (Patriot Ledger)


Monica Lewinsky links her dalliance with President Clinton to the #metoo movement and the evolution of the press. She also discloses she has post traumatic stress disorder and reports on a chance encounter recently with Ken Starr, the special prosecutor. (Vanity Fair)

  • stargazera5

    James Aloisi was Secretary of Transportation from 2008-2009. He had a chance to to shift money from expansion into maintenance and repair and to create a new policy that would have prevented the T’s collapse. Instead he continued the multi-decade long chain of prioritizing expansion over maintenance, the exact issue that caused the T to get into it’s current shape. Rather than making the tough calls on how to wisely manage the T’s budget, he let mess continue to rot for somebody else to clean up. It was easier for him to call on others to pay more than to make hard choices. No, Aloisi is not solely responsible, but when he had the opportunity to make a difference, he failed the T, he failed the Commonwealth, and he failed all of us. Why, exactly, with a record of failure like this is he given a platform to speak out?