By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Keller whacks Patrick on transportation woes

Jon Keller posts a very tough critique of Gov. Deval Patrick following the resignation — or, should I say, the “resignation” — of Patrick’s transportation secretary, Bernard Cohen.

I don’t know nearly enough about the inner workings of the governor’s office to be able to offer an intelligent analysis. But Keller’s basic theme is that this represents a triumph of the old-line hacks over competent outsiders such as Cohen. Keller writes:

Cohen was a pure policy wonk who worked quietly and diligently to restore order to the state’s chaotic transportation planning and build working relationships with key political players. But he was not much of a headline-grabber or Patrick kiss-up. And he had a tendency to tell the truth about things, like the state’s utter inability to afford the commuter-rail extension to New Bedford that Patrick keeps insisting is still in the cards. So for his trouble, Cohen is now out, to be replaced by [James] Aloisi or someone like him, some wired-in smooth-talker who will convince the governor that he can sell the legislature on the huge toll and tax hikes Patrick apparently believes are necessary.

The Outraged Liberal takes a different view of the “ineffective” Cohen and writes: “While critics snipe that apparent successor James Aloisi was part of the team that created the mess, at least he knows where the bodies are buried.”

But Jay Fitzgerald says of Aloisi that “bringing back a key figure from the Big Dig Culture is an anti-reform disaster.”

And I agree with Jay that House Speaker Sal DiMasi is once again leading the good-government charge, writing an op-ed piece for the Boston Globe in which he calls for change before raising tolls or the gas tax. I’ll even forgive DiMasi for his hoary cliché of a lede.

Photo of Patrick (cc) by Allie Taylor and republished under a Creative Commons license. Some rights reserved.

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  1. Michael Pahre

    The question to ask about Aloisi is what was his role in the Mass Turnpike Authority when it entered into a series of awful financial deals on swaptions — that could cost the state up to $447 million in fees.If Aloisi was one of the brain-dead guys who thought those deals were a good idea a few years ago, then he is the wrong guy for the Transportation Secretary job right now. What would prevent him from entering into a new series of boneheaded and financially disastrous deals to get out of the current mess?

  2. mike_b1

    How much savings will combining the agencies bring?When the dog is starving, sometimes it takes more than just water to save him.

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