Troubled Water Beneath Governor’s Bridge Proposal?
Yesterday, we expressed skepticism about Gov. Deval Patrick’s plan to borrow $3.8 billion to repair 411 bridges around the state. We thought House Speaker Sal DiMasi sounded hesitant to embrace the big loan during a recession, and we braced for another fight between the two. But it was all sunshine and cuddles between the Speaker and the Governor during yesterday’s formal announcement of the bridge plan.
That doesn’t mean the path ahead will be entirely smooth for Patrick, however. State Treasurer Tim Cahill says Beacon Hill can’t afford champagne bridges on the state’s beer budget.
Way to rain on our parade, Tim.
“We’re not going to break the bank to do it,” Cahill, who is in charge of managing state debt, said in an interview. “This is big and it’s big on top of a lot of other big proposals. It may not be the time to take on something this large.”
Come on. What’s $3.8 billion in the grand scheme of things? Massachusetts’ debt burden is already the highest in the country per capita, so it’s really just chump change, right?
Cahill estimates that the $3.8 billion bond would require $3.2 billion in interest payments, putting the overall cost for the governor’s bridge proposal at $7 billion, a figure the Patrick administration did not dispute.
Those high interest rates get you every time. Just ask those poor souls who got suckered into adjustable-rate mortgages.