While most of the buzz about Gov. Patrick’s speech tonight is on what new taxes he’s going to propose, that misses the point:
Massachusetts has one of the worst-run, highest spending, and most indebted transportation systems in America. The MBTA’s operating budget alone has gone up 60 percent since 2003.
And what are Patrick and his team — not to mention a gaggle of CEOs who should know better — proposing as the solution? Spend more.
The Reason Foundation regularly analyzes state transportation spending. While this year’s numbers have yet to be released, the most recent (2010) report ranked Massachusetts 44th in overall efficiency — or lack thereof — when it comes to spending your money.
Just one example: States like Texas and Virginia spend around $7,000 per state road mile on administrative costs alone. Massachusetts spends $71,000 — per mile.
We rank 48th in total spending per road mile — our $662,000 per mile (!) barely edged out by New Jersey and Florida.
To put that in perspective, we spend far more than New Hampshire’s $162,000 and about 10 times the per-mile cost in Missouri.
New Hampshire has our weather, Missouri has major urban centers like St. Louis and Kansas City, but only we have the Big Dig culture of taxpayer abuse.
On top of this, Gov. Patrick is proposing billions more in new school spending over the coming years (apparently spending $80,000 a year on the average Boston schoolteacher isn’t enough) on top of this transportation boondoggle.
Will anyone on Beacon Hill step up to stop this spending avalanche? Yeah, right.