Memo to Maura.
Ask the big guy up front for the promised $2 billion to replace the functionally obsolete Cape Cod Bridges—the Bourne and the Sagamore.
Gov. Healey, if the state’s anemic Congressional delegation, all Democrats, can’t get President Biden, a fellow Democrat, to come up with the funds, maybe you can do it for them.
Tell him it’s for climate change. Or equity.
Remind him of how once powerful Massachusetts politicians—Ted Kennedy, Joe Moakley, Tip O’Neil and Mike Capuano– once ruled Washington and whatever Massachusetts wanted, it got, no matter the cost.
Mention the billions for the Big Dig, the Red Line Extension, the Green Line Extension and the Moakley Courthouse.
Well, maybe it is better not to mention the Big Dig. It still rubs people in Washington the wrong way. Starting out at an estimate cost of $2.8 billion, it ended up in 2007 costing $14.8 billion. It was the most expensive highway project in US history, and nobody went to jail.
And it also would remind people that money to help pay for the boondoggle, which made Boston traffic worse, not better, was diverted from the MBTA, which then helped wreck the transit authority.
Before calling the big guy, though, confer with former U.S. Rep. Mike Capuano of Somerville to find out how he was able to wrest $1 billion out of the federal government to complete the stalled extension of the Green Line to Medford last year.
And he did not even run the House Ways & Means Committee, like US Rep. Richard Neal of Springfield. The difference is that Neal never rode the T. Nor did the Western Massachusetts solon drive to the Cape.
But don’t call Capuano’s successor, Rep. Ayanna Pressley of Boston, who defeated Capuano in the 2018 primary, unless you want to talk gibberish about white supremacy. The bridges don’t discriminate.
Nor should you bother Barack Obama or John Kerry either, even though they both have mansions on Martha’s Vineyard, a big one for Obama and a smaller one for Kerry. Size matters because one became president, and the other did not.
Still, both men are so rich that they need not drive over the bridges to get to the Cape and take the ferry from Hyannis. They come and go by private jet.
Besides, the Cape is full, and they do not want any more mainlanders coming down, and this includes illegal immigrants from Venezuela. They couldn’t get the last batch off the island fast enough.
Remind the big guy, who traditionally spends the Thanksgiving holiday free loading on Nantucket, how, when he was a man of moderate means, he used to drive his family over the bridges to take the ferry to Nantucket. That was fun. He used to meet people.
Now, like Obama and Kerry, he flies in and out, as he did this past Thanksgiving. That’s a drag because he doesn’t talk to anyone but himself.
Still, tell Joe that is quite acceptable to jet in and out. He is president, after all, although you need not mention that the obsolete bridges are as old and decrepit as he is, more so. So maybe it is too dangerous to drive over them.
Biden is 80. The bridges are 88, which will be Biden’s age if gets to complete a second term. You wouldn’t want an old man driving over an old bridge, would you?
Tell the big guy that you will arrange a Cape Cod political extravaganza for him when he comes to the Cape after approving the $2 billion necessary to build the new bridges, and how you will line the roads to the bridges with 236,000 cheering Cape Cod permanent residents, all shouting “Run, Joe, Run” in gratitude. But he must do it before one, or both, of the bridges collapse.
And don’t bother to call US Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Eddie Markey or Rep. Bill Keating, who represents Cape Cod, unless there is a photo op.
Finally tell the big guy that you will name both bridges after him.
Please burn after reading.
Peter Lucas is a veteran Massachusetts political reporter and columnist.