Lots of interesting discussion going on here. I don't see anyone arguing that what we have now for east-west transportation infrastructure is simply not sufficient. I agree that obviously ridiculous ideas like laying tracks in the Mass Pike have to be thrown out there because, yes, save for the few politicians whose care extends beyond their salaries and political positions, a lot of them are too stupid and self centered to see what I just mentioned in the previous sentence. You have to rub their noses in it before they realize what they are shoveling stinks.
From personal experience, every few months with another journey coming up in the beginning of December, I have to drive my girlfriend from Western Mass to see a specialist in Boston. I have done this several times with appointments being anywhere from the mid morning to later in the afternoon meaning I have had all too much sampling of the Mass Pike traffic at many different times. The one thing I can count on is sitting in traffic jams. Not because there is an accident, bad weather or, any other condition that would be the icing on the cake, but, it just is the way it is with a road that was designed and built when there was only perhaps 25% of the vehicles on the road that there are now. I am no mathematician but, travelling at 65MPH sure sounds better than the stop and go 15 to 20MPH I have to deal with for several miles each time I travel the Mass State Parking Lot.
I like Charlie Bakers notion that East-West rail should be the price of MBTA funding because last time I checked, the tax dollars being spent on the MBTA aren't being only collected from the people who now benefit from it. Not that this is the T's fault. It's just that the 20th Century ended about 2 decades ago and it is about time we move our transportation infrastructure into the 21st century. I fail to see why Massachusetts struggles to see what most of the rest of the industrialized world including several other states already know that if you want people to stop driving their cars everywhere you need to give them another efficient way to get around.
Yes, it costs money and it doesn't turn a profit. To those who would be quick to point this out I would ask who pays for airports and all of the FAA personnel who manage them? Who pays for all those TSA agents? Trucking and bus companies benefit from the nations highway system, but what is the actual percentage of taxes they pay towards the maintenance of these roads compared to the damage they incur during the use of them? Care to guess who pays for the vast majority of this? All you need to do is look in the mirror!
I am simply trying to put things into perspective. We can't pave our way out of this one. My wish is that those who are "Studying East-West Rail" should be required to travel the Mass Pike every day as a part of their study thus being required to "Smell" as I mentioned above.
Just my nickel. ( used to be two cents , but, had to adjust for inflation )
RAILROADS: AMERICA'S MOST IMPORTANT TOOL FOR ENERGY CONSERVATION. REMIND YOUR POLITICIANS HOW YOU WANT YOUR TAX DOLLARS SPENT.