Monday, July 18, 2005

The Turnpike Authority Has Gone Rogue!

It's news like this that makes me inclined to go with Romney's plan to scrap the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority all together and absorb it into MassHighway. Apparently, Matt Amorello may be ready to contest the term length of one of his allies on the board which, barring legal action, would be up later this year. From the Globe:

[T]he Turnpike Authority asserts that legislation passed last year extends the terms of certain board members, including the Amorello ally, Richard K. Anderson, for six more years. That would mean that Anderson, who has been on the board since 2002, would not step down until 2011.

"Over the past months there have been media reports that there would be a vacancy in the board," Turnpike lawyer Michael D. Powers wrote in the letter to Jack Cline, Romney's appointments secretary, dated June 29. "To avoid confusion about this matter, I thought it would be prudent to write to you. None of the current members' terms expires this year."
You know, I can understand why you would want the Turnpike Authority to be semi-independent, but this kind of petty political maneuvering is beyond even the Beacon Hill back-benchers and big-money political donors that populate the board. Amorello's claim is completely ridiculous. Are we really to believe that the Legislature tacked on six years to every Board member's term just so Matt Amorello can keep the Authority as his private fiefdom? State Senator Steven Baddour (D-Methuen) says "even a first-year law student could see" that the provision that extends the terms of board members doesn't take effect until July 2007. It's particularly galling that the Board would attempt this blatant exercise in avoiding accountability while the Central Artery Tunnel has more holes than the plot of a Matrix sequel.