Episode 113: Deval In Good Time

34 minutes

1/8/2020-- After a long winter's nap, The Horse Race is back up and running, starting the new year with a bang. The first guest of 2020 is former Massachusetts governor and Democratic presidential candidate Deval Patrick.

Patrick announced his candidacy this November, long after his fellow contenders, throwing his hat into the already crowded ring in a self-described 'long shot' of a campaign. He explained on the show he was ready to make this very announcement more than a year ago. Shortly before he intended to break the news, however, his wife Diane was diagnosed with cancer. Today, she is cancer-free, and Patrick spots a void among Democratic contenders that he thinks he can fill. He describes President Trump as divisive and says, "I am concerned that some of the Democratic candidates are offering a Democratic version of the same thing rather than seeing this as an opportunity to unite us around solutions to common challenges."

Turning to transportation in Massachusetts, Patrick's calls for new revenue echo those he made back during his own 2007-2015 administration. "The T has needed significant investment to be a 21st century T for a long time, and we've been making that point and have made it twice." He cites his attempts to generate new revenue, beginning with his 2009 proposal to raise the gas tax that was swiftly shot down by the legislature. Patrick then pushed for new revenue through means other than a gas tax, and finally in 2013, vetoed a transportation funding package because he thought the gas tax increase included in it was too low. This veto was overruled by a House vote, and the gas tax went into effect, but the law mandating automatic adjustments according to inflation was repealed by voters via a 2014 ballot measure. Had the law remained in place, this would have allowed for annual increases to the gas tax. Instead, it's remained at 24 cents per gallon since 2013.

"No amount of reorganization is going to deliver a 21st century T," Patrick said. "It is going to require significant new investment."

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