Tuesday, March 17, 2009

In Case You Missed It!

6 Months Later, Patrick Administration Turnpike Rhetoric Just Words?

Then...Patrick Administration Promises to Fire 100 Toll-Takers

In its latest cost-cutting effort, the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority plans to lay off 100 toll collectors - about a quarter of the toll taker workforce - over the next 12 to 18 months, hoping to save the struggling agency $10 million. Ultimately, the authority plans to reduce the total number of toll takers from 440 to 150, as it tries to mitigate its large financial debt, which it estimates to be between $70 million and $100 million this fiscal year. We need to take any and all action that we can," said Alan LeBovidge, executive director. "The less toll takers we need, the more money we save." (Boston Globe, 9/19/08)

Now...Patrick Administration Has Yet To Fire A Single Toll-Taker

"Senior lawmakers told administration officials Monday morning their move to raise tolls by $100 million a year before releasing a reform and financing plan was "insulting," and requested the Turnpike Authority consider a range of alternatives before the increase takes effect March 29. Legislators expressed disbelief that no toll-takers have been laid off. Turnpike Authority executive director Alan LeBovidge said the Pike now employs 424 toll-takers, 48 fewer than a year ago, with the reductions coming largely through retirements." (State House News Service, 3/16/09)

Note: Patrick Transportation Secretary James Aloisi said cutting transportation employees would hurt legislators who got those workers their jobs.

"New Transportation Secretary James Aloisi, hired for his ability to maneuver the marble halls of Beacon Hill, managed to alienate many legislators during a series of private meetings in the past few weeks. According to several lawmakers, Aloisi trashed Senate President Therese Murray's "reform before revenue" statement as a "meaningless slogan," said tolls would never come down, and argued against cutting transportation employees because it would hurt legislators who got those workers their jobs. Aloisi has another busy week ahead selling Gov. Deval Patrick's transportation bill. He has another private meeting with lawmakers tomorrow and a public hearing in Worcester on Thursday to discuss reforms." (Boston Herald, 3/9/09)