Monday, March 14, 2005
Choo Choo Romney

Back when he was just a Fraud Candidate Willard Mitt said Massachusetts deserved a complete, integrated transportation plan, with "clear, objective criteria to evaluate all capital projects." Romney promised to rank projects according to need so that he could "take politics out of the process." (source: Romney/Healey Inc, "Romney/Healey propose a commuter bill of rights," 9/3/2002)

Almost two and a half years later the Fraud Governor finally unveiled his transportation Plan for Action.

Buried deep inside, in the section on Southeastern Massachusetts, Romney recommends the extension of commuter rail service to New Bedford and Fall River. (source: Exec Office of Transportation, "A Framework for Thinking, A Plan for Action, page 275")

We can hear them now:

"The train's coming to New Bedford! Yay! Lookit the map. Lookit the lookit the lookit the map! It's right here on page 276. The railroad is coming to New Bedford and Fall River. The 20th Century is finally coming to the great Southcoast. Yay!" (source: "Framework for Thinking, Plan for Action," page 276)


Let's hope they didn't turn the page.

Or eleven pages to be exact.

Because on page 287 the railroad disappears.

On page 287 the report describes the Old Colony part of the state and lists its recommended projects including expanded bus service, land use changes, and highway capacity issues. (source: "Framework for Thinking, Plan for Action," page 287, 288)

And no railroad.

Which is strange. Because the railroad that heads north on page 276 should, logically, go somewhere. Like page 288.

Raynham is just south of Easton. Raynham is shown on page 276. Easton is shown on page 288.

The railroad that is shown headed north from New Bedford and Fall River (through Raynham) on page 276 disappears when it gets to page 288.

Which means that Romney is either proposing another Big Dig once the railroad hits the Easton line, or that he is recommending a major transit undertaking to extend commuter rail service from New Bedford and Fall River ... to Raynham.

To the tune of $650 million dollars. (Which is $200 million less than has been estimated in the past, but we digress.)

So does the disappearing railroad have anything to do with the fact that Willard Mitt won Easton by over 2,000 votes in 2002, and doesn't want to risk alienating the good GOP groups that thought they'd benefit from Team Reform's brand of stewardship? (source: PD-43 2002, page 115)

Is this just an oversight?

Or did it actually take Team Reform 2.5 years to plan half a railroad?

Or is the New Bedford to Raynham Railroad just ... the New Bedford to Rayham Railroad?

And can other parts of the state now expect their own whacky transit schemes?

Howsabout a Lowell to Pepperell Monorail?

Or a Holyoke to Great Barrington Hot-Air Balloon Shuttle?

Inquiring minds want to know.


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