Opinion

The Podium: Transportation and trash fish

Excerpts from the Globe’s “Voices of New England’’ blog at www.bostonglobe.com/podium

PUTTING TRANSPORTATION ON THE RIGHT ROAD

Our livelihoods are rooted in transportation. We risk losing all if we allow our transportation system to crumble. The public has rightfully demanded “reform before revenue.” State government and unions heard the call. Transportation agencies were consolidated, staff and overhead cut, pensions controlled. While more can be done, much has already been done.

Despite cutbacks, the MBTA is the most indebted transit system in the country. Regional bus systems strain under mounting costs. Roads are riddled with potholes, and 400 bridges remain structurally deficient. This is unsustainable.

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The good news is the Legislature can fix this now, but it will cost money.

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According to the independent Transportation Finance Commission report in 2007, and MassDOT’s recently released plan, a billion dollars annually is necessary to deal with the debt, get the system into a state of good repair, and make needed enhancements and strategic investments. An overwhelming amount of the billion dollars would repair and maintain our current system, with only a fraction going toward expansion and modernization.

Additional revenue sources are needed. Options considered by the Legislature must sufficiently fund transportation and be dedicated to transportation while not causing negative impacts on the economy.

Revenues must be enough to end the current crisis, maintain the system, and allow us to modernize and grow our economy.

GEORGE BACHRACH

Environmental League of Massachusetts

RICHARD DIMINO

A Better City

I’LL HAVE THE TRASH FISH

The history of fishing in Massachusetts is in large part the history of cod. But the future of fishing may be in the so-called trash fish — redfish, pollock, and dogfish.

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Years of inadequate conservation and management measures, and now climate change impacts, such as rising ocean temperatures and decreasing salinity, have combined to push some groundfish stocks down to a point where we must tightly restrict the catch. This will give the fish a rest, and allow them to rebuild so that both fish and the fishing industry have a future here. We know that stocks can rebuild if given a chance because redfish, dogfish, haddock, and others have done just that. Now we must reintroduce the public to fish that weren’t available in the market in recent years.

If we’re successful, we won’t need to call them trash fish anymore. Like cod and haddock, they’ll come to be known as a staple of the New England seafood landscape.

JOHANNA THOMAS

Environmental Defense Fund

MICHAEL LEVITON

Chefs Collaborative