Late night with the T

Boston is still a city in Cotton Mather ’s grip. It’s a city where puritanism survives, where residents may only dance with proper permits in hand . But at least now, it’s a city where residents will be able to take the subway home after patronizing duly-licensed dancing establishments.

Globe columnist Shirley Leung  breaks the news today that the MBTA will begin late-night subway and bus service, beginning in the spring. The pilot program will extend the T’s weekend closing time on subway lines, and on 15 busy bus routes, until 3 a.m. Currently, the last trains leave Park Street well before last call.

State transportation officials peg the cost of the service at $20 million annually. Much of the money will flow from the recently approved gas tax increase. The state is also seeking private donors to defray the cost of the service. A press release from the governor’s office announced a $500,000 contribution from the Globe. Leung writes that Greg Selkoe, an online retailer who’s been beating the drum about making Boston more welcoming to young entrepreneurs, will also be raising money for the late-night service.

The T last experimented with late-night transit roughly a decade ago, at the urging of Boston city councilor Mike Ross. The Night Owl service, launched in 2001, ran semi-frequent buses along subway routes; its ridership numbers didn’t dazzle anyone, and in 2005, it became a victim of the T’s perpetual battles with budget deficits. In theory, Beacon Hill’s recently enacted transportation finance package plugs the MBTA’s operating deficits going forward, while the outside fundraising effort should relieve some of the budgetary pressure on the new late-night service.

Throughout Boston’s recent mayoral race, the Globe ’s editorial page tried to rally support for a younger, more modern version of Boston — one that would break with its historic puritanism, and embrace a downtown urban culture that exists after midnight. Running trains and buses late enough for residents to either work or drink beer after midnight is one significant step in this direction. “This is about how we make the system modern for the kind of economic growth we have been experiencing and will be experiencing,” Gov. Deval Patrick tells Leung today. “The folks who work in the innovation sector — they live differently.”

–PAUL MCMORROW

    

BEACON HILL

Rep. Lori Ehrlich of Marblehead is at odds with Rep. John Keenan of Salem over a proposed new natural gas-fired power plant in Salem. She says the plant isn’t needed and calls Keenan’s efforts to cut off legal challenges to the plant “a blatant special interest favor,” the Salem News reports .

The Berkshire Eagle supports a proposal by Rep. William “Smitty” Pignatelli, a Lenox Democrat, and Sen. Benjamin Downing, a Pittsfield Democrat, that would penalize insurers who do not allow drug addicts adequate time in detox facilities.

A pair of Anti-Defamation League officials rip the Governor’s Council in a Herald op-ed column. A superior court nominee’s work with the ADL was recently attacked at a Governor’s Council confirmation hearing.

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

Boston city councilors meet to discuss an arbitrators proposed award to police officers , with many councilors holding back their view just two days before a scheduled a vote and the council’s president, Steve Murphy , inexplicably saying he knows how he’ll vote but isn’t saying. It’s clear how Globe columnist Farah Stockman would vote, as she ticks off a list of those who would earn less than most police officers under the generous arbitration award. The list includes the mayor and the vice president.

Mayor Thomas Menino sat down with Jim Braude and Margery Eagan to talk about his final month in office as well as his health progress, including beginning to drive again.

To keep the average property tax increase in Methuen to $100, Mayor Stephen Zanni says he will have to lay off two dozen police, fire, and public works employees, the Eagle-Tribune reports .

Hanover officials are exploring the possibility of bringing in a private company to operate the town’s transfer station and allowing residents from other communities to bring their trash and recyclables as a way to generate additional revenue.

Attleboro ’s former redevelopment authority director wins a state appeals court decision, with the court ruling that his 2009 dismissal by the town was politically motivated.

CASINOS

Gov. Deval Patrick files a lawsuit to block an Indian casino on Martha’s Vineyard , the Associated Press reports . Meanwhile, the Mashpee Wampanoag  ask a Bureau of Indian Affairs official about the thorny land-in-trust issue.

Suffolk Downs owner Richard Fields says the Revere-only casino proposal with Mohegan Sun is stronger than his earlier East Boston proposal with Caesars Entertainment, the Item reports .

NATIONAL POLITICS/WASHINGTON

The US Supreme Court refuses to hear a challenge by Amazon.com and Overstock.com to a New York law requiring the firms to collect sales tax on purchases made by Empire State residents, the Associated Press reports.

The Daily Beast’s Michael Tomasky  says the GOP tweet about Rosa Parks “ending racism” reveals a shameful truth about the Republican Party.

The Atlantic  asks whether the Obamacare-repeal effort is finally over, while the New York Times  highlights a slew of new GOP challenges to the law. The Wall Street Journal  notes that, given the relatively short time it took to fix the HealthCare.gov glitches, the entire fiasco could have been avoided with more forethought.

A Wall Street Journal op-ed column attacks the populism of Elizabeth Warren and Bill de Blasio .

A special commission in New York  finds widespread corruption — some technically legal, some not — in the state, thanks to lax campaign finance regulations. The commission recommends setting campaign contribution limits, monitoring outside money more closely, and setting strict new limits on candidates’ personal spending.

ELECTIONS

Republican gubernatorial candidate Charlie Baker teams up with Lieutenant Governor candidate Karyn Polito.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Juliette Kayyem outlines a criminal justice reform plan that would favor treatment over incarceration for nonviolent offenders, particularly veterans, NECN reports . Herald columnist Margery Eagan  believes Kayyem will play well with voters looking for “someone fresh, frank and fearless to carry the Democratic banner next year.” Eagan notes that Kayyem is playing the same caucuses-first game plan that vaulted Deval Patrick into office. Also: Hollywood  loves her .

The Wall Street Journal  pins Democrats’ hopes of holding the Senate on a handful of southern races.

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

US Sen. Ed Markey urges caution on Amazon’s idea for drone deliveries of packages, the Associated Press reports . Was Amazon’s drone pitch a PR stunt ?

The number of US banks  is at its lowest level since at least the Great Depression.

Bank of America  enters a $404 million mortgage settlement with Freddie Mac .

EDUCATION

Lunenburg police say they have found no evidence linking any member of the high school football team to racist graffiti on one player’s home, the Lowell Sun  reports.

Massachusetts students do well on an international test of math, science, and reading skills , though they lag leading countries in math and science by considerable amounts. A new report from an international think tank finds that the United States has dropped in both high school and college graduation ranks , falling to 10th and 13th respectively in the world. The Atlantic  puts the test results in context.

The New Bedford schools superintendent has transferred 10 students with behavioral issues from the high school to the city’s alternative school, but denies it was related to the City Council’s request for information on teacher assaults in the schools.

HEALTH CARE

  In the last installment in a series on Lyme disease , the Globe profiles a physician who was infected in his youth in the 1970s and who has been contending with possible effects of the disease ever since.

The ACLU sues the US Catholic bishops over anti-abortion policies at religious hospitals.

TRANSPORTATION

Whether South Coast Rail becomes a reality will likely depend on sentiment outside the region, reports the Standard-Times in offering a good cross-section of opinion on the project.

Accidents are up significantly after a new interchange was built to promote safety at the intersection of Routes 128 and 62 in Danvers, the Gloucester Times  reports.

The New York commuter train that derailed early Sunday morning, killing four people and injuring dozens, was traveling 80 miles per hour , nearly three times the specified limit, as it approached a curve near the Harlem River.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE

A veteran immigration judge in Boston will hear the deportation case today against President Obama’s uncle .

Law enforcement officials used high-tech surveillance equipment , including GPS and an FBI spotter plane , to track and catch the alleged so-called “Dunkin’ Donuts bandit.”

MEDIA

New York magazine takes up the epic battle between Alex Rodriguez and Major League Baseball.