Back in the Amorello days of the Mass Turnpike, Tom Keane wrote a splendid little dissection of the Turnpike’s penchant for giving out toll collections to charities of Chairman Matt’s choice. As Tom noted at the start of The Kindness of Tax Payers in the Sunday Globe Magazine:
In the waning days of his administration, as the wolves were starting to circle and friends were looking few, Matt Amorello, head of the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority until August, started handing out money. The Boston College Associates Program got $5,000, as did a community health center in the North End. In all, according to a report in the Globe, Amorello distributed more than $52,000 to charities in the first six months of this year – more than four times the Turnpike Authority’s rate of charitable giving in 2005. The obvious implication: Amorello was trying to buy support from prominent political leaders by contributing to their favorite causes.
State House News Service recently referenced a Turnpike staff report underscoring the “unfair share” of Big Dig debt that Pike drivers pay. SHNS noted that current Pike Chair Alan LeBovidge “has put a freeze on all turnpike donations, such as donations to Boston’s First Night celebrations, until the full toll equity report is released later this year.”
The Governor made a great appointment to lead the Pike. LeBovidge led the fiscal turnaround in Springfield, as chairman of the Finance Control Board appointed to shepherd the city out of financial meltdown. Let’s hope he keeps the reforming ways going at the Turnpike.