The Codcast: The case for extending the GLX ‘path’
To make the Green Line extension into Somerville and Medford more affordable, state transportation officials pared back spending on the project by close to $1 billion. A lot of items ended up on the cutting room floor, but none of the cuts have stirred more opposition than the decision to eliminate a key section of a bike and pedestrian path that would run alongside the rails.
The eliminated section of what is being called the Community Path would connect the newly named East Somerville station to the Lechmere and North Point areas, and allow easier access to Boston and paths along the Charles River. (See map to get oriented.)
Lynn Weissman, the co-president of the Friends of the Community Path, joins us on The Codcast to explain why she thinks the MBTA’s decision to truncate the path is bad policy. The Somerville activist also would like to see the latest path design modified to allow more community access to the trail, which runs below grade.
Weissman faces long odds in fighting the T, but, then again, she’s been at it for years. She biked (naturally) from her home in Somerville to our podcast studio on Beacon Hill.
Internal emails obtained by the Springfield Republican suggest the Baker administration is not ruling out consideration of a vehicle miles traveled tax, despite Gov. Charlie Baker’s veto earlier this year of a pilot test of such a program. The emails suggest Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack led opposition to conducting a VMT study.
A Globe editorial rips Attorney General Maura Healey for giving a speech to newspaper publishers on the importance of government transparency and accountability on the same day her office denied a Boston Herald request to intervene and help it obtain an MBTA report on absenteeism and family leave policies.
The Senate gave approval to a bill that would allow farmers markets and farmer distillers to sell their wine, spirits, and beer for off-premises consumption. (State House News)
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh expresses concerns about the Baker administration’s mid-year $98 million in budget cuts. (Boston Herald). Globe columnist Adrian Walker says the cuts look like a Baker effort to show that he’s tough on spending. “But that posturing comes at a cost,” he writes.
The state Fire Marshall determined a leaky gas furnace caused the deaths of a father and son in Acushnet who were found dead from carbon monoxide poisoning. (Standard-Times)
An 18-year-old woman at Saint Anselm’s College in Manchester, New Hampshire, explains the fallout for her after Trump targeted her with an angry tweet. (Washington Post)
Lawrence City Councilor Modesto Maldonado announced he will challenge Mayor Daniel Rivera next year. He accused Rivera of ruling by fear, treating city employees poorly, and catering to the south (mostly white) side of Lawrence. (Eagle-Tribune) Maldonado also brought up Rivera’s expensive odyssey with the school department, which was chronicled in several articles in CommonWealth.
Steward Health Care has sold the former Quincy Medical Center to a developer who has reached agreement with Mayor Thomas Koch to keep the satellite emergency room there at least five more years as well as take part in the downtown redevelopment. (Patriot Ledger)
A minimum wage increase to $15 per hour would help lots of people, but some would find themselves worse off because they would lose eligibility for various kinds of public aid — from housing assistance to subsidized child care. (Boston Globe)
A Newton law firm that once won a huge judgement against ExxonMobil has been pulled into the legal showdown between Attorney General Maura Healey and the energy conglomerate. (Boston Herald)
Business leaders weigh in — some from the safer perch of Harvard Business School positions — on how corporate officials might respond to President-elect Trump’s singling out of companies and industries he wants to give direction to. (Boston Globe)
Trump will remain and be credited as one of the executive producers of NBC’s The New Celebrity Apprentice reality show after he takes office, raising further questions of conflicts of interest. (New York Times)
Microsoft, which has a less-than glowing track record of mergers, has completed its $26.2 billion acquisition of the social media network LinkedIn. (New York Times)
The Boston School Department is looking to convert two buildings to “innovation schools,” which have more flexibility over curriculum and scheduling, and launch other alternative schooling ventures. (Boston Herald)
Babson College has cleared two students of misconduct in connection with allegations they harassed Wellesley College students about the presidential election outcome. The Herald raises questions about the fact that the college official who led the probe was a Hillary Clinton backer.
Swampscott High School officials crack down on a student who made threats of violence on social media. (Salem News)
Repealing the Affordable Care Act would mean loss of health insurance coverage for millions of Americans, write Jonathan Gruber, who worked on development of the law, and Benjamin Sommers. (Boston Globe)
Subscribers who get coverage through the Massachusetts Health Connector can avoid steep rate increases if they shop around among the plans offered through the clearinghouse. (Boston Globe)
State officials say all-electronic tolling on the Turnpike is cutting about 12 minutes off of commutes from I-495 to South Boston. (WBUR)
MassINC Polling Group president Steve Koczela writes that worker absenteeism data from the MBTA suggest there has been no progress in reducing unscheduled absences, something identified as a top priority at the problem-plagued agency. (CommonWealth)
A commuter rail train on the Fitchburg line hits a vehicle on the tracks. (Masslive)
The city of New Bedford and the local fishing industry are part of a group that has filed suit against the federal government trying to block a wind turbine development in critical fishing grounds south of Long Island. (Standard-Times)
Federal officials have filed notice of appeal of a judge’s decision rejecting the government’s recognition of the Mashpee Wampanoag, a ruling that has put the tribe’s planned casino in Taunton in jeopardy. (Cape Cod Times)
Lawrence Mayor Daniel Rivera appoints a four-person committee to investigate how the police handled the disappearance of Lee Manuel VIloria-Paulino, who was later found decapitated. Mathew Borges, 15, has been arrested and charged with the murder. (Eagle-Tribune)
A recent report on the high rates of incarceration in low-income minority neighborhoods — and the toll that takes on communities — highlights the need for fresh thinking on mandatory-minimum sentences and other criminal justice policies, write the co-chairs of the Massachusetts Criminal Justice Coalition. (Boston Globe)
Judge William Hadley dismisses charges of disorderly conduct against 15 Black Lives Matter protesters who blocked a busy Springfield intersection. (MassLive)
A New Hampshire roofer is being sued by two guests at his wedding who say an errant drone he launched to videotape the festivities nosedived into them causing serious injury to both. (Boston Herald)
Mike Sheehan is stepping down as the Boston Globe’s CEO and being replaced by Doug Franklin, a retired news executive currently living in Florida. (CommonWealth)PASSINGS
Forever remembered as the first American to orbit the earth, John Glenn — war hero, US senator, presidential candidate — has died at the age of 95. (New York Times)