Massachusetts’ draconian transportation funding proposals

Get ready to have your money sucked away rapidly by the Massachusetts tax man and be prepared to have Big Brother riding with you everywhere you drive because Massachusetts lawmakers are formulating a plan to raise more money to pay for transportation.  The current proposals have many odious provisions which are documented in this CBS Boston article Massachusetts Lawmakers Propose Expanding Highway Tolls, Charging Drivers By The Mile.

Several key House members have hinted that they are likely to include an increase in the state’s 24-cents-per-gallon gasoline tax in a transportation revenue bill that Speaker Robert DeLeo is eyeing for release next month, but other ideas put on the table during a Transportation Committee hearing on Thursday could supplement that revenue stream.

Rep. Thomas Stanley warned his colleagues that over the long term the gas tax will be insufficient to meet roadway and public transit needs. Rising fuel efficiency in vehicles, he said, means that even the same frequency of driving will result in motorists purchasing less gas, generating less revenue for the state.

Instead, Stanley suggested Massachusetts embrace legislation (H 3010) he co-filed with Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier to create a pilot program to test fees based on the miles people travel rather than the amount of gas used.

As if all of these driver fleecing proposals aren’t ridiculous enough, there are more being investigated.

The first bill (S 2060) would instruct the Department of Transportation to report on the feasibility of implementing all-electronic tolling on state and interstate highways “not currently subject to a toll,” taking a look in particular at tolls along the state’s borders.

The second (S 2062) would expand tolls to stretches of Interstate 93, Interstate 95 and Route 2 in an attempt to apply equal charges to drivers across the greater Boston region. That bill also calls for implementation of dynamic “peak pricing” where the toll varies based on roadway conditions.

As a libertarian who values personal freedom and privacy very deeply, Massachusetts Bill H3010 really bothers me on a fundamental level.  Here are the details:


(a) The department of transportation shall develop, implement and oversee one or more statewide pilot programs to assess owners of motor vehicles a user fee that is based on the number of miles traveled on roads in this state by those motor vehicles.

(b) The pilot programs shall include at least 1,000 volunteers across the commonwealth who are representative of drivers of trucks, passenger, and commercial vehicles and throughout the commonwealth, who will have on-board vehicle-mileage-counting equipment added to their vehicles, administered in a manner the department of transportation deems appropriate.

(c) The pilot programs shall test the reliability, ease of use, cost and public acceptance oftechnology and methods for:

(1) counting the number of miles traveled by particular vehicles;

(2) reporting the number of miles traveled by particular vehicles; and

(3) collecting payments from participants in the pilot programs.

(d) The pilot programs shall also analyze and evaluate the ability of different technologies and methods to:

(1) protect the integrity of data collected and reported;

(2) ensure drivers’ privacy; and

(3) vary pricing based on the time of driving, type of road, proximity to transit,          vehicle fuel efficiency, participation in car-sharing or pooling or income of the driver

The freedom to travel wherever we wish is under assault by this bill.  The government will be punishing us for traveling too far by taxing us on every mile we wish to drive.  That is unacceptable.  The technologies to implement this will result in Big Brother riding with us in every vehicle.  That kind of government surveillance is beyond unacceptable.

Quick Baseball Thoughts, Rendon, Cole, Mookie, Colon & Sable

The worst part of the off season is waiting for things to happen but here is my take on what’s currently going on.

When I heard that Anthony Rendon (who is on both my face to face and my online SABLE draft league) was picked up by the Angels my 1st thought was: It’s about time.

What the point of having arguably the best player in the game (Mike Trout) if you don’t put someone with him to give your team a chance at a pennant run? It’s sort of like the Phillies when they had Steve Carlton and nothing else except there is a reason to watch each game rather than one out of five.

Will Rendon be enough? I don’t know, after all we all remember what happened to Pablo Sandoval when he came to the RedSox.

The Yankees have signed Garret Cole to a monster contract and that to me means all is right in the world.

The Yankees are SUPPOSED to be overpaying for great players rather than building a farm system and a 9 year deal likely means they will be paying him big money when he’s got nothing left and as last year’s Red Sox team demonstrated, signing good pitchers for big contracts doesn’t mean they will not get hurt or have an off year.

Of course Cole could go all Roger Clemens or Nolan Ryan and prove to be valuable for the full time but either way I want the Yankees to be outspending my Red Sox. It’s a lot more fun to beat them that way.

Speaking of the Redsox and spending there is a lot of fuss about Mookie Betts wanting to go to the free agent market to make his fortune rather than re-sign here.

This is sad to me but hey if Mookie wants to make UnGodly money elsewhere rather than just Big money here, who am I to say otherwise? He worked hard for the right and I wish him the best. I’m just going to miss watching the best outfield the Redsox had since the days when Rice was in left, Lynn was in Center and Evans was in right.

As for trading him or not I say wait until the deadline, if it looks like we have a real shot this year then keep him for the run because the reality is you don’t get a lot of title shots (the Patriots are an aberration that has clouded the minds of Boston fans on that point) but if it becomes clear that this team is not going anywhere then if you’re going to lose him anyways I’d stock up that farm system while you can, hopefully with a few good arms because God knows we can use them.

I love this story:

I was hoping the Redsox would sign Colon to a one year deal last year when everyone was falling apart because not only would he have eaten up innings he would have been fun to watch but given the need to preserve the illusion that they were playoff bound it didn’t happen, that being said having watched not only a bad Redsox rotation but having regularly seen the Baltimore Orioles pitching nobody is telling me that a I watched the Redsox play the Orioles a lot last year so nobody is telling me that a 46 or 47 Bartolo Colon isn’t better than a lot of guys currently on Major League Rosters.

And frankly it would be fun to have one player who pitched i the 20th century still not to mention a person who actually played for the Montreal Expos still in the game. I’m sure a non-contender with some young kids could learn a lot from this guy. It would be like carrying an extra pitching coach for free.

And you never know when a guy like Colon will surprise you, like this

The worst part about getting hurt and missing time right now is that this is the period where there is a bunch of overtime and 3 paid vacation days that I’m missing. The 2nd worst part is that it’s not during the baseball season where I could at least watch the RedSox every day.

Thank God for Dynasty League Baseball Online, between My greatest team league (1924 Senators 27-24 2nd place AL West behind 73 Oakland A’s) My worst team league (1970 White Sox 16-10 tied 1st place AL east with 2018 Orioles) and regular tournaments (just moved to a tie for 9th all time in the game) I’m getting my baseball fix.

This is a completely unpaid endorsement but if you have a baseball fan in the house a gift subscription to this game would be a gift that will keep giving for a lifetime.