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The Boston Globe


The Podium

Patrick’s plan will fix the transportation mess

It was August 2009 and I was in Harvard Square having an early morning coffee when I answered my cell phone: “Deval Patrick here.” Really? I had never met Governor Patrick, but he wasted no time in telling me what he wanted.

Our governor explained to me that the finances of the state transportation system were a mess, difficult to understand, and he needed help in separating rumor from fact, myth from reality, and a cogent analysis. The most complex problem was the MBTA. After a few days of thinking about it, I agreed to chair a small group to study the MBTA problem, but there were a few conditions for the governor. He and I were not to meet before the study was completed; I could select the task force with no influence from him or the legislature and the report would be given to him at the same time as the public. He promptly said “Fine, I just want the truth.”

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