Award Wining Reporter Gabrielle Gurley asserts her support for a Gas Tax in Commonwealth Magazine

November 25,2008

(John Gatti Jr response on Commonwealth Magazine Blog Site)

I am most disappointed in your support of a Gas Tax Increase without stating the facts and history of how previous ones were spent. Representative David Linsky should at least look at the issue in total and present all the facts and history of where the gas tax increases went before demanding any gas tax or allowing any toll increases.

Your editor Bruce Mohl once ran The Globe Statehouse Bureau with integrity and fairness. I welcome him verifying any comments I am about to make because he was there during the Big Dig infancy and previous gas tax increase.

The former chair of the House Transportation Committee Representative Steven J. Karol stated in a contentious debate on the House Floor in May 1990 that no Turnpike funds would be used to pay for the Big Dig. This took place to approve legislation many were involved that already passed the Senate which would have provided oversight and accountability of the Big Dig project. The Special Interests defeated the measure.

When the last gas tax increase was approved in 1991, we were told that was adequate to fix the deteriorating roads and bridges that upon review did not. Look at was done and not fixed. Look at Federal Funds pouring into Massachusetts that could have been used to repair Massachusetts Interstate and Primary Roads and Bridges and were not.

The sad revelation revealed this week that Parsons Brinkerhoff part of the Big Dig engineering, design, and private oversight of the construction team that ran the Big Dig project from the original $2.3 billion to $23 Billion+ that is now to be awarded the lead design manager for the $370 million Massport project. You should ask the readers if this is right for the inefficiency, waste, mismanagement, fraud, and abuse of the Big Dig. under their watch? This is a moral and financial outrage. The Big Dig is the world’s largest construction project and is a monument for private sector greed and ravage of taxpayers by state and national government. Gas Taxes, Turnpike and Tunnel Tolls expansions should be taken off the table and not even be considered upfront.

Gas Taxes, Turnpike and Tunnel Tolls expansions should be taken off the table and not even be considered upfront.

The time has come for Massachusetts to establish a new WARD Type Commission such as established during the Boston Government Scandal that forced the legislature to implement many government contracting reforms that seem to have eroded in recent years.

Government and the media should inform the Citizens and Taxpayers where previous gas tax increases that were previously promised to fix and repair all the dysfunctional roads and bridges. The guilty and enablers who got Massachusetts into this mess must be exposed and held accountable first. The failure to prosecute in criminal and Civil Courts the truly guilty is deplorable and an insult to all Massachusetts citizens.

To do any increases to the taxpayer without insuring again independent proper government oversight and accountability that is truly independent and staffed to stand up to bad construction practices and the many special interests of contractors, bankers, bonding companies, insurers, consultants, out of touch labor bosses, and campaign contributions that will take Massachusetts citizens for a ride again is wrong and will lead to a further disaster to Taxpayers.

I respect your journalism and writing. However, I would request in the future you present all sides if you wear your reporter’s hat.

I have previously written a column that is posted on my Blog in which I name those I consider the guilty, enablers, and heroes of the Big Dig as well as leading us into the current gas tax increase that did not fix our continuing falling apart Massachusetts roads and bridges.

Posted by: John Gatti Jr | November 25, 2008 at 10:34 PM