T chief vows no repeat of last winter's meltdowns

The Herald reports comments by Frank DiPaola about that $80+ million in spending on new third rails, switch heaters and the like. Plus, they've got prisoners standing by to shovel out major snowfalls.

The Herald story is running on a morning when a train died on the Red Line, a trolley stopped functioning on the Mattapan Line and signal problems caused delays on the Blue Line.


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That's awesome.

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That's awesome.

Now can we get reliable service in the fall, spring and summer too?

Can we turn the entire

Can we turn the entire transit authority over to the prison system? People would DEFINITELY move all the way in with a 6'8" convict telling them to do so.

Let's see the D line still

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Let's see the D line still packed every a.m. no matter what time I take it b/c they don't send enough trains.

Needham line is still not on pre storm schedule.

They have yet to fix the signal problem at Forest Hill's from the fire in APRIL.

Yea, and the check's in the mail.

How much does everyone think the fare hike will be in April?

There are as many Needham trains

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Than there were a year ago.

And as you note in your next line, the schedule is off due to the extremely slow "effort" to fix the signals after the lightning storm 7 months ago. But in case you don't remember, back in February there were less runs on the schedule. That was resolved.

I should have said the times

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I should have said the times of the trains are still not back to what they were before Snowmageddon. As for the "effort" to fix the signal issue I'm not sure there really is one.

I think the T is giving us less so we expect less,

That fare hike

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would go over pretty well with most riders if it was accompanied by an announcement re expanded and increased user fees for driving (be it by gas tax, tolling or VMT). [I am predominately a driver these days, and I would support any of the above.]

Fare hikes never go over well

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Fare hikes never go over well and the voters told you where you can stick a gas-tax increase last year. A VMT would probably get the same groups to come out and put another initiative on the ballot to knock that down, too. New tolls on interstates are illegal under federal laws.

Subway fares have more than

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Subway fares have more than doubled in the last 15 years. In the meantime drivers have seen the gas tax effectively go down because of inflation and efficiency mandates. Anyone who voted against raising the gas tax has no right to complain about the condition of the roads and can safely put part of the blame on themselves the next time a tunnel falls apart or a bridge collapses.


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The voters voted only against indexing a gas tax to inflation, not to an increase in the abstract. That's not even close to the same, and it was the point on which those who opposed the ballot initiative focused.

The tolling prohibition is not long for the world, either, because there is a burgeoning alliance of state's rights red state types and those who see the need for more revenue for transport who are building significant support for repeal of that law.

Gas Tax

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"The voters voted only against indexing a gas tax to inflation, not to an increase in the abstract."

I'm not going to hold my breath, and I recommend you don't either, waiting for that abstract to become reality. I think the against-tying-it-to-inflation crowd knew full well that "the legislature can still vote on increasing the gas tax!" is effectively the same as "the legislature can vote on making everyone in Massachusetts wear a Yankee hat!" as far as keeping what they don't want to happen from happening.


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The voters voted only against indexing a gas tax to inflation, not to an increase in the abstract. That's not even close to the same

I... what? Voters removed the ability of the legislature to increase the gas tax without a formal vote on every increase. And the Venn diagram of "voters who opposed inflation-indexed increases" and "voters who will support individual gas tax hikes in the future" looks a lot like Elton John's sunglasses.

Giving a thumbs up just for

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Giving a thumbs up just for getting Venn diagram and Elton John in the same sentence.

Sneaky Semantics

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You tried to tie the gas tax to inflation thereby creating automatic tax increases for eternity. You also tried to change the bottle bill to enable the raising of that "deposit" every 2 years for eternity. Because you know that this is just another de facto tax which ends up in the General Fund. Shockingly, voters were on to you.

Does the 6.25% sales tax on

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Does the 6.25% sales tax on toothpaste have automatic increases for eternity, since the price of toothpaste goes up with inflation?

Not sure if serious

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Can't tell if you're mocking the anon commenter before you, or are actually positing this, but: MA gas tax is $.24 a gallon. It's not a percentage, so inflation/wild price swings makes no difference to state revenues. It also means the state is collecting less and less revenue from it every year, as fuel efficiency increases.

I regret to inform you that

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No one is giving you the power to raise taxes on people who do things that you do not. You obviously have lots of great ideas to take money from "others" to fund things for yourself, but it doesn't matter.

I would happily pay more IF I

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I would happily pay more IF I actually saw improvements. I have seen zero improvements with any of the hikes.

If They Can't Toll The Interstates Yet, Toll Everything Else

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For years, drivers entering Boston via Route 1 have had to pay a $3.00 toll. There's no excuse for not putting similar tolls on Route 2, Route 3 (north and south of the city), Route 24, Route 99, Route 60, Route 128 (where it's not I-95), Storrow Drive, the Cape bridges, etc., etc. — all state roads.

Some people won't like it, but at least it would make things more fair — while, of course, raising millions of dollars to improve transportation infrastructure for everyone.


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You're never gonna get "fair". What you will get with your proposal is even more traffic jams on Massachusetts roads.

How Would It Cause More Traffic?

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Slowing down for tollbooths is a thing of the past. The new open-road gantries on the Tobin Bridge are no bigger than an overhead sign — you can put them everywhere with no impact on traffic flow. Drivers would all be paying their share of operating the highway systems they use, just as passengers pay fares when they use the .

Not really

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Slowing down for tollbooths is a thing of the past.


It isn't, actually. You still have to slow down (EZ Pass has a 30 mph limit), and not everyone has EZ Pass so you still need the tollbooths, and the infrastructure doesn't exist on any of the roads that you mention. It's a nice idea, but I don't think it's the right direction to go in the quest for perfect fairness.

Open Road tolling

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The new tolling system on the Tobin will soon (end of 2016) be our tolling system everywhere. No toll booths, no speed restrictions beyond whatever the limit on the road/ramp is. No cash option.


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If EZPass only works at 30 mph, why can I go through at 65 mph in Hampton NH. Or on the NJ Turnpike. Or...

There's A Stunning View From The Tobin Bridge.

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Just for fun someday, try driving across to Chelsea and back again to Boston. In addition to the beautiful scenery, you'll get to experience what it's like to use open-road tolling. If it weren't for the photo flash, you'd never realize you were passing a toll point.

The toll is cheaper if you have an EZ Pass, but it's not required. The system automatically reads license plates and the state will send you a bill for the toll.

Mass Backwards

NH has had 65MPH tolling at the Hampton Tolls in I-95 for several years now.

I drove across the continent in recent memory, and MA has some of the slowest drive-through speed limits of pretty much any state I've driven through.

It's been a while for me

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But I do recall that New York posts (or at least posted) a 5 MPH limit versus the freewheeling 15 MPH on the Mass Pike.

Fare increases for sure , no

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Fare increases for sure , no dancing around that. But that said ,and the bullseye target put on, I could stomach a temporary Mass State income Tax surcharge if the revenue was dedicated to fixing the T , with no bullshit diversions or machinations , similar to what happened @ '' The Revenue and Expenditure Control Act of 1968, signed by Johnson on June 28, 1968, imposed a 10 percent surcharge on individual and corporate income taxes.'' No drone studies , no bike lanes , no rail banking, just raw crude trains , buses , trolleys , rails , signals ect. Throw in buying South Postal Annex, I can dig it. Not one red cent for Southcoast Rail or other Lionel train in the cellar fantasy expansions! Roll on~!

Not recently

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I ride twice every day and they seem to have stopped last year. I agree that would increase capacity at least at rush hour.

As a commuter rail rider I

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As a commuter rail rider I would accept the occasional long delay in Apr-Oct, if in turn Nov-Mar was on time. I don't enjoy waiting in freezing weather for a train or being in a idle, packed train with no heat. If it's 50+ degrees, I can handle it.

Prisoners? Why not hire a

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Prisoners? Why not hire a bunch of people at that new $15/hour minimum wage we'll probably have in Massachusetts soon?

Why Not Hire High School Students?

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Allow students to sign up ahead of time, agreeing that on days when there's no school, they'll report to work for the , clearing snow from bus stops and stations in their own neighborhoods.

When schools close because of bad weather, many students are stuck at home with nothing to do — at exactly the same time that the (and the city) needs additional help to clear snow.

It would be an opportunity for young people to earn some spending money, while learning a valuable lesson about the benefits of working hard to accomplish something useful.


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Do you know any teens? You can't pull most these kids away these days from their iphones, ipads, and video games especially on a snow day. Very few teen shovel for fun or money anymore. (and I know there's SOME that still do but its very far and few between)

Now if they were giving away an iphone.... they would line up around the corner.

I think more of the issue has to do with liability and work hours (teens can only work so many hours in a week if they are under 18). Plus you gotta pay some livable wage. The prisoners probably are making 10 cents an hour or whatever the wage is for prison work.

But shagging empty bottles

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But shagging empty bottles and cans is a growth industry today , dont see many youts engaging in that these days...

perhaps, but...

I tend to take a pretty dim view of kids these days, but they can surprise even a coldhearted cynic like me sometimes. Who knows? Some of them might be civic-minded, and jump at the chance to help public transit while earning a couple of bucks (which they can then use to buy a new case for their iPhone, of course). Besides, some school societies (the National Honor Society - at least back when I was in it, sometime in the Regency Era) require community-service extracurriculars. It just might work, and - assuming it's just a day or two per week, for six hours or so at a time - not likely to break any child labor laws.

It's all neither here nor there at this point, but I would certainly support a plan like this. Angsty little teenage Malcolm Tucker probably would even have been interested in participating, back in the day.

Kids these days

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Older generation yells at cloud, whines about "kids these days."

News at 11.

Aaah, kids today...

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Do you know any teens? You can't pull most these kids away these days from their iphones, ipads, and video games especially on a snow day. Very few teen shovel for fun or money anymore. (and I know there's SOME that still do but its very far and few between)

I have a feeling the truth is more complicated than that. The kids you're talking about sound like they live in affluent suburbs and get all the spending money they need in return for nothing. Those kids couldn't find the work even if they wanted it -- the average suburbanite doesn't have a sidewalk and needs his/her driveway cleared first thing in the morning so they can get to work -- that's why they own snowblowers. They're not gonna hire the yout's. And in cities, landlords are responsible for getting things cleared, and a lot of them job it out to the same maintenance companies they use year-round. On the other hand, there are plenty of teenagers who don't get handed everything and who would indeed like to pick up some bucks and wouldn't mind doing some shoveling to earn it.

Do YOU know any teens?

Apparently not. Last winter, we had roving packs of them shoveling out houses and driveways in our neighborhood.

My boys were roped in to a tie down and climbing the roof shovelling out the ice dams. They were also picking up community service hours digging out elderly people's homes and clearing hydrants and storm drains. When they weren't taking a turn shoveling out our home, that is - or plowing through enormous mounds of honors and college homework.

You just have to pay them enough to get their attention - and pay more than the food places do to bus tables and scoop ice cream. I can't remember the last time we ate out locally and my son didn't run into one of his classmates busting his or her tail in the restaurant.

I am on that same plan

My old van is approaching 200000 miles, but I got the oil changed and vacuumed out the back. So I am good for the winter and am guaranteed to not break down.

Another thing that would help

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Is asking the public whether you should paint unicorns on the side of the van, versus flames or a full-out Harry Potter Battle of Hogwarts mural

isn't it ironic, dontcha think?

The Herald story is running on a morning when a train died on the Red Line, a trolley stopped functioning on the Mattapan Line and signal problems caused delays on the Blue Line.

It's like 10,000 spoons when all you need is a knife.

I'm picturing bus stops being

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I'm picturing bus stops being painstakingly cleared by prisoners, each equipped with a spoon.