Friday, July 22, 2005

Romney on the MTA

Governor Romney again proves that he cannot stage manage public events, despite his expensive image team. As reported in the Globe and the Herald, Romney yesterday rode the T the shortest possible distance -- from Park St. to Goverment Center on the Red Line -- as a "Thank you" to T employees and proof that the system is secure. During that time, Romney was told to "get a job" by the infamous "Cat Lady", harrassed by a homeless man who asked if he was running for president, and flubbed the obvious question of how much a T token costs. He guessed that the $1.25 fare cost "a buck". Nice try, but the fare was raised last year with nary a peep from his office. Now you know why, he didn't even know it was going on.

Personally, I'd really like to see Mitt commute from his palatial Belmont estate to Beacon Hill at least once. I doubt he has ever taken the bus in his life, and it would be helpful if someone important saw just how lousy bus service was in the inner suburbs. I'm not holding my breath for that, though, a guy with Romney's money would probably end up taking the commuter rail from Belmont Center anyway.

Now some people might say that since Romney doesn't take the T to work daily, it's unfair of us to assume he should know the price of a token. I disagree. The Governor's office is roughly a football field's distance from the nearest T stop, and I wager that a large percentage of his staff takes the T in to work. Just by going places in Boston, where Romney works, it is almost impossible not to pick these things up almost by osmosis -- particularly when the fare hike was being discussed early last year. Most importantly, though, he is the Governor. He should know these things to make informed decisions on transportation policy, and heck tourism policy. If he can't be bothered to even look up this information when he's actually riding the T, how do we know he'll take the time to learn about the issue when bills that effect fares cross his desk? Don't forget, too, as of now he still has an election coming up next year. Don't you think it would behoove him to know a little bit about the concerns of Boston area commuters?

Blue Mass Group, Chimes at Midnight, Bostonist and fellow Watertown blogger Paul Day all have their own takes.