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August 24, 2005

Grabauskas vs. Dukakis

Just now on Fox 25 news, Dan Grabauskas was given the opportunity to strike back at Mike Dukakis for the former governor's lambasting of a couple of weeks ago. It was interesting to hear how much Grabauskas spoke in the future tense: We're spending $2 billion dollars on improvements, replacing the "joke" of a PA system (some nice calculated outrage on that one), elevators and escalators will be fixed any day now, folks, really... And then Grabauskas compared the Dukakis administration unfavorably to Romney's vis-a-vis the MBTA: the Savin Hill stop was a mess back then, now it's pretty, etc.

Waa-a-a-ll, it's August 2005. Mitt has been in office, if not in charge, for more than two and a half years. The Guv's book on public transportation is not yet complete, perhaps, but can we agree it hasn't exactly been stellar so far? Was he pro-active? Was the PA system first and foremost in his mind before the London bombings? Is garbage like this Orange Line SNAFU -- which is after all partly just a matter of lousy communication on a *really* basic level, as Pelican points out -- really unavoidable? The near-riots this winter, which (I guess) were due to maintenance problems?

I mean, it's nice for Grabauskas to acknowledge the problems that we're all aware of, right? But spare us the defensive, invidious comparisons with twenty years ago. The only meaningful question is: Is the MBTA better off than it was two and a half years ago?

Posted by Charley on the MTA at 10:44 PM in Massachusetts | Permalink


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Well, to be fair to Grabauskas, Dukakis' column isn't really much more than a "back in my day, things were better" sort of attack piece [cue Abe Simpson]. No person in political life would respond to a column like that without making a couple of efforts to point out that the T wasn't exactly a rose garden back in the 1980s either. Furthermore, Grabauskas has only been at the T for a few weeks, so while Romney may be fairly on the hook for the lack of progress over the last couple of years, Grabauskas isn't, yet it's also not reasonable to expect Grabauskas to attack the guy who just gave him his dream job.

Grabauskas has been around state gov't a lot longer than Romney has, and he's had impressive accomplishments at each stop (he did great things at the Registry of Motor Vehicles, for example). He's one of the good guys. Give him a chance.

Posted by: David | Aug 25, 2005 9:40:59 AM

Well said, David. And you are right.

Posted by: The troll | Aug 25, 2005 3:13:32 PM

Someone ought to write a letter to the Globe pointing out that during the 1980s, T service both improved and expanded, while in the past two years, T service has gotten worse and contracted. Fares went up, but we lost the night owl bus and the north end of the green line, we have more delays and people are less satisfied.

I have nothing against Grabauskas and no opinion of what sort of job he's doing. I note that Dukakis didn't mention him either, even by implication. His letter was aimed at the Romney administration.

So, someone ought to write that letter to the Globe. But since I just sent them a letter on a different topic, it shouldn't be me. Any of you feel like it?

Posted by: Cos | Aug 25, 2005 3:22:24 PM

Absolutely correct about Grabauskas, who's only been on the job since June. I probably should have mentioned that. But the defensive tone of his statement about the Dukakis-era MBTA didn't seem apt to me. He's digging out of a hole; let's not pretend it's a hill.

Posted by: Charley on the MTA | Aug 25, 2005 9:35:43 PM

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