We’re Gonna Need a Bigger Bailout

The quest to save the MBTA and the Turnpike Authority continued yesterday, as Transportation Secretary Bernard Cohen pulled the heads from all of Massachusetts’ transit agencies together to talk about how the state can save the Pike and the T without raising tolls and fares.

1218548468Apparently, the answer is to rob Peter to pay Paul. Hope you enjoyed financial solvency while you had it, MassPort!

The plan, which is still in its infancy, will take financial resources from MassHighway and MassPort to the Turnpike and the MBTA. There’s also talk of the agencies performing services for each other to cut costs.

Well, that sounds great. Until you consider the Highway Department is paying the majority of its employees with borrowed cash, and MassPort’s big moneymaker is the Tobin Bridge, which is undergoing a $125 million beautification project. That will eat into the $280 million in tolls the state wants to share with the troubled transit agencies.

Cohen admits this plan will probably only be a temporary solution while lawmakers figure out how to save the Pike and the T. But perhaps officials should spend their time coming up with a permanent solution instead of playing a shell game.