Window Into The State House

State Police and MassPort reach logical payroll agreement eight years after the fact
Now that wasn’t so hard, was it? From Matt Stout and Matt Rocheleau at the Globe: “State Police troopers who patrol Logan International Airport, the Seaport, and other Massachusetts Port Authority properties will now be paid directly by the beleaguered law enforcement agency under a newly hatched agreement spurred by officials’ failure to disclose years of payroll records for the unit.” And years of probable/likely/alleged overtime abuses, it should be added.

The Herald’s Howie Carr says it’s time for state leaders to start thinking in terms of actual arrests of state troopers, not just suspensions and retirements on full pensions.



And yet another thing about that Seaport gondola idea …
The folks at the wonky TransitMatters sure don’t like the Seaport gondola plan, knocking it earlier this month and then in yet two more pieces yesterday in CommonWealth magazine, both by Ari Ofsevit of TransitMatters. The first article says there’s simply no space for the large gondola infrastructure needed for the system. The second piece says buses are much better than gondolas. Our view: We like the gondola idea in concept – and like even more the fact that Millennium Partners, a private company, is trying to think outside the transit box and is willing to pay for the system itself. But if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. We’ll see.
Fate almost worse than death: RMV wait times top five hours for new driver’s licenses
The Globe’s Adam Vaccaro reports that motorists yesterday faced “crushing waits” as long as five hours at Registry of Motor Vehicles offices on the first day of the new “REAL” driver’s license system. The waits were longer than what Baker administration officials had anticipated. OK, so it’s only one day. Let’s see how it goes in coming days and weeks. But you have to wonder: Are we witnessing another botched rollout of a new program?
Everything you’ve always wanted to know about REAL IDs but were afraid to ask
Speaking of the REAL program, Gintautas Dumcius at MassLive has all the details on the new driver’s licenses that the feds will require if you want to fly on planes or enter federal buildings starting in 2020. Bottom line: It’s going to require more documentation to get the driver’s licenses – which is one of the reasons why the lines were so long yesterday at RMV offices.
Trump plugs Howie Carr’s new book that all but thanks God that Trump beat Hillary Clinton
What a surprise: President Trump wasn’t tweeting yesterday about Stormy Daniels and was instead touting Howie Carr’s new book “What Really Happened: How Donald J. Trump Saved America From Hillary Clinton.” John Carroll at Campaign Outsider has the details and connects some dots between the two pals. John’s post via Universal Hub, whose own headline was “Trump, Carr engage in mutual tongue baths.” Fyi: Howie was gloating over the presidential plug.
Advocates take aim at dormant medical dispensaries getting retail pot licenses
Lots of people saw this coming and let’s hope it doesn’t gum up the process: As the state’s Cannabis Control Commission prepares to begin accepting applications for licenses to sell recreational marijuana, some advocates say dispensaries that began the process of getting licensed for medical marijuana but never actually opened their doors should not be given first crack at recreational licenses. Ally Jarmanning reports at WBUR that medical pot advocates are not ruling out a lawsuit, which would could throw the entire licensing process into question as the July 1 target date to open recreational dispensaries looms.
MBTA eyes raising parking fees for some, lower fees for others
Desperate for new revenues to plug a projected deficit, the MBTA is now mulling a plan to raise parking fees at T stations by a total of $7 million, but it hasn’t decided yet exactly who will get hit with the fee increases. Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine reports that the T appears to be considering “a form of congestion pricing” for parking garages, i.e. fees would go up at busy facilities and down at less crowded parking lots. SHNS’s Andy Metzger (pay wall) confirms that the two-tiered fee approach is under consideration.

But is it really “congestion pricing”? Looks more like old-fashioned supply-and-demand pricing, i.e. jacking up prices where demand is high and supply is low and lowering prices where demand is low and supply is high.

Just in time: First of 24 new Green Line cars has arrived
Speaking of the T, this is good news. From Adam Vaccaro at the Globe: “After so many years of delay, the MBTA finally has something to show for the Green Line extension. The first of 24 new Green Line cars has arrived in Massachusetts for testing and is expected to join the Green Line fleet this summer, with a second car expected later this spring. More trolleys are expected to arrive through 2018 and 2019, said Jeff Gonneville, the T’s deputy general manager.”
In Swampscott, Calvin Coolidge’s ‘summer White House’ faces the wrecking ball
What would our late governor and president say? A condo developer wants to demolish White Court, which served as President Calvin Coolidge’s summer White House in the 1920s, saying the structure that long housed a Catholic college has deteriorated too much to be saved, Ethan Forman reports in the Salem News. The town’s Historical Commission will hold a hearing on a possible demolition delay period Tuesday night.