It wasn't clear why Lt. Gov. Murray found it necessary to spend our money on a jaunt to Washington, DC, this week--to hover behind Pres. Obama while he was signing a transportation bill. The money it brings to the state will arrive with or without Mr. Murray's presence and is reduced by spending for his travel expenses. [ Associated Press, Lt. Gov. Murray to attend White House bill signing, Boston Globe, July 6, 2012, at http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2012/07/06/lt_gov_murray_to_attend_white_house_bill_signing/ ]

The much delayed federal transportation bill is only a 27-month stopgap, not a commitment for five to ten years like the federal programs have usually provided. Given the reactionaries now in the House and the general gridlock in Congress, we in Massachusetts should probably be happy to be level-funded in highway aid and slightly boosted in transit aid. [ Eric Moskowitz, $2 billion in federal aid for Massachusetts highway and transit projects, Boston Globe, July 7, 2012, at http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2012/07/07/2b_in_aid_for_mass_transit_projects/ ]

Bringing clouds to this sunnier day for Mass. Transit is MBTA management, irresponsible as usual, blowing away much of the extra money by tarting up another subway station: "reconstruction of Government Center Station." Except for lack of an elevator for the disabled, that station is just fine--thank you--and ought to be far, far down the MBTA priority list, well behind the many deferred maintenance projects.

Unmentioned in the article from Mr. Moskowitz was the state's hopped-up proposals for "high-speed rail." Massachusetts recently got some federal "high-speed rail" money through traditional politics--that is, lies. It will help improve 62 miles built in the 1840s between Springfield, MA, and New Haven, CT. Supposedly the project will raise the scheduled full-trip speed from 38 to 54 mph. If not really "high-speed" that's at least higher speed. [ Project planning document, Connecticut Department of Transportation, 2009, at http://www.ct.gov/dot/lib/dot/documents/dcommunications/stimulus/hsipr/Summary_of_the_New_Haven_to_Springfld_Rail_Line_Project.pdf ]

What happened to "high-speed rail," Mr. Moskowitz?