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

Let the Pike go bankrupt

Massachusetts Turnpike executive director Alan LeBovidge doesn’t understand many things. Here’s one of those many things: We don’t care if the Pike goes bankrupt.

When he says, “I can’t provide Rolls Royce service on a Chevette income,” we have no idea what he’s talking about. And we know he has no idea, either. It’s a road. Letting people drive on the damn thing isn’t giving them “Rolls Royce service.”

When he says, “Everyone wants premium services but they don’t want to pay for it,” we scratch our heads. What “premium services”? Blacktop?

LeBovidge’s salary is $160,000 a year. That’s enough to light the Zakim Bridge for 32 months. If his position were eliminated by, say, noon today, would anyone care?

Look, I know it’s more complicated than that, and I know the gas tax ought to be raised by quite a bit. But LeBovidge’s arrogant, clueless performance is enough to turn even a liberal weenie like me into an angry populist. Enough.

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  1. NewsHound

    Dan, you are so correct. Common sense is so uncommon with too many in government. He’s the one with Rolls Royce compensation that needs to be brought down to maybe a bicycle, or like you say, let him go completely and light the bridge for almost three years. With that much electricity equivalent in his pay, it looks like Mr. LeBovidge is way too juiced.

  2. krembo

    How many people remember the Chevette? GM *should* go bankrupt for producing that car.It would be great if we could gather up a bunch of Chevettes and park them in front of a toll booth as a protest. Problem is, how many of them still exist?

  3. Aaron Read

    What’s really sad is that anyone who’s regularly driven on the Pike during the winter does know what LeBovidge is talking about: the Pike is/was better salted, sanded and plowed than any other road in the state. When Rt.128 might be 15MPH, tops, because of ice and snow…the Pike is usually still good to 35-40MPH. More if you’re in a Subaru like a good New Englander. :-)I say “is/was” because I haven’t been a regular Pike commuter since 2002. Although in late 2007 and early 2008 I was driving the entire length of the Pike (Rochester to Boston and back) at least twice a month…and it did seem that the Pike was still pretty good at keeping the roads clear.FWIW, as a long-distance traveler, the service stations along the Pike…while overpriced…are exceptionally convenient, too. But I agree they’re almost completely unnecessary in the grand scheme of things.

  4. Dan Kennedy

    Aaron: I do agree with you about Pike maintenance. But the service stations? Those are income to the Pike.

  5. DanH

    Add in the Easter traffic backup disaster caused by the Pike’s temper tantrum involving toll collectors and it really is time to boycott the Pike.Driving on local roads is the best way to vote with your wallet and steering wheel. It chokes the Pike’s revenue source and forces attention to the problem as the local roads clog up.Yes it costs you time and convenience to protest this way, but it just may be worth it if it gets rid of this bloated fiefdom.-dan

  6. deargod

    When types like LeBovidge and Aloisi speak to the media directly, they’re quickly seen to be the incompetent, overpaid, arrogant jerks they are. (And there are so, so many more just like them in state govt.) Why are taxpayers forced to pay for press flacks that make $60K to $100K+ for them to hide behind. Fire the flacks and make their bosses themselves responsible for answering questions from the media and public. “Sometimes you have to grin and bear it;” don’t you Alan?

  7. Amused

    Easter at the tollbooths is the Daval Patrick equivalent of Jane Swift’s helicopter rides, Ed King’s lobster lunch or the “price of hamburg” to Frank Sargeant.When a governor is cooked, power cedes to the legislative leadership, so DiLeo and Murray will run the state for the duration. Patrick is a toothless tiger — he lost much of his political capital over the Walsh matter, now the decline of his political authority is complete. He let an accountant run a road. Idiotic. The good news: It’ll be a long time before anyone takes the “government needs to be run like a business” mantra seriously.Obama needs to do both Massachusetts and its governor a favor and find a landing spot and face saver for Patrick — and the governor ought to hope that happens sooner rather than later.How bad is the turnpike rage? For the first time ever, I sympathize with the people who drive up as far as they can in the ‘closed’ lane and then cut someone off and jump back in the front of the ‘waiting’ lane (although I’d still ride the bumper of the car in front of me to keep them from cutting in).Also, Pike maintenance is not as good as it was in the Driscoll years, especially during snow. Bring back Walpole Joe.

  8. Nial Liszt

    **Why are taxpayers forced to pay for press flacks that make $60K to $100K+ for them to hide behind.**There’s a a project for Walter Robinson’s students. Go to the Herald’s online list of state employees and count the job titles that include words like spokes-, public, press, media, information, etc.I have attempted this several times on stormy weekends, with a fresh bottle of Bushmills, but… well, you know.

  9. Mike from Norwell

    DanH, when you factor in a 1-2 hour wait to clear tolls, think you could have taken a Segway from Sturbridge to Weston on Rte 20 and have made better time.Love the idle threat that “you ain’t seen nothing yet” about Mother’s Day and Memorial Day Weekend on Tuesday. Hope that Deval didn’t get more than a 4-year lease on that car; governors have lost elections for less. Think Charlie Baker and Tim Cahill’s people are saving as much of this coverage as they can right now?

  10. NewsHound

    Can you imagine running a store and keeping people in line two hours, take a large pay for yourself, record large profits and send large dividends to stockholders and maintaining a strong franchise that will hold its value for many years? To Amused – good for not letting cheaters cut in front of you and thus distance yourself and every car behind you to the more than honorably earned toll both.

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