RE “Transportation proposal comes with a price” (Metro, Jan. 22): The governor has proposed to raise yearly tax revenue by $1.9 billion for education, highway repair, and the repair and expansion of public transportation.
Transportation expenditures are to include a pay-down of MBTA debt (not priced), the repair of existing infrastructure and fleet (not priced), and about $3.8 billion of public transit expansion. We must repair Boston-centered infrastructure already in place and eliminate expansion. Boston and Cambridge are thriving economies, and the benefit of repair justifies its cost because it allows further growth through access to a wider labor pool.
The same is not true for rail service to Springfield, Pittsfield, New Bedford, and Cape Cod. Railroads do not create growth. They serve it. Chicago is still the greatest rail hub in the country because it serves a vast region of food production, energy, and manufactured goods. The railroads came to Chicago, not vice versa.
Fix what is in place now. If we make it that far, then every new expansion has to justify its economic cost. Having rail service to a dormant city produces nothing but ribbon cuttings.