The Turnpike Gets Closer to a Bailout

1216216348Last week, we learned that the Turnpike Authority wants the state to cosign its loans in order to refinance its debt before a huge lump-sum payment comes due in January. A series of boneheaded financial moves by former chairman Matt Amorello left the agency in dire straits, and Gov. Deval Patrick wants to bail it out to prevent another toll hike.

But State Treasurer Tim Cahill says the Turnpike shouldn’t get its money for nothing.

Cahill and fellow critic Sen. Mark Montigny say the state should demand oversight over the Turnpike’s financial moves in order to prevent future financial blunders.

“It borders on fiscal recklessness, to be honest with you,” Cahill said yesterday. “This is a bailout, and it does nothing to force the turnpike to clean up its own mess. The taxpayers deserve better than this.”

“We’re assuming all of the risk here, but we’re abandoning any concept of oversight,” [Montigny] said. “I want to prevent this from ever happening again, and we can’t do that until we assess blame and correct this.”

Somewhere in the Transportation Building, we imagine Dan Grabauskas read these quotes and cried out, “What about my agency’s soul-crushing debt? People actually use our service!”