Opinion

A rapid endorsement

ITEM FILE PHOTO
Newton Mayor Setti Warren speaks with The Item in this February 2017 file photo.

During his regular morning commute to Boston from his Swampscott home today, Gov. Baker will have a chance to glance to his left along the Lynnway where the city’s abandoned ferry landing is located and to his right where the MBTA commuter garage sits half empty.

Baker pulled the state financial plug last year on the ferry, ending two years of summertime water-transit service from Lynn Harbor to Boston. Ferry riders loved their scenic and stress-free commutes, but Baker and his aides said pouring money into the ferry no longer made sense.

Never filled to capacity except during blizzards, the commuter garage is a concrete testament to why commuter rail is, at best, a mediocre public-transportation connection between the Lynn and Boston.

Newton Mayor Setti Warren evidently understands why the commuter ferry worked and why commuter rail doesn’t. He also understands that we have reached the point where the cost of not building mass transit exceeds the expense of building it.

Warren is a Democrat running for governor, and if the Democratic primary election were held tomorrow, this newspaper would endorse Setti Warren as the Massachusetts Democratic Party’s gubernatorial nominee in 2018.

We would endorse his vision, his common sense, his fortitude, and his ability to listen to what Lynn needs.

Warren came to Lynn one week ago to underscore why he thinks a Blue Line extension running from Wonderland to Lynn makes sense. Riders can board a Blue Line train and travel to downtown Boston in the same way Revere and East Boston residents currently utilize the Blue Line.

The Blue Line extension has been supported and endorsed by Lynn business leaders and elected officials, as well as officials in other communities, for 70 years. The Blue Line isn’t just a  simple and straight-forward solution to pulling people off increasingly crowded highways; it is a litmus test for the willingness on the part of public officials to map out a better future for Lynn.

Commuter rail does not work for Lynn. With its limited connection points to other destinations and costly inefficiency, it is an example of how one governor after another has come to Lynn and touted commuter rail as efficient transportation instead of listening to Lynn talk about the transit option we need.

Setti Warren is listening. He is also stating an indisputable fact when he points out the costs to the Massachusetts economy and to commuters if alternative transportation options are not available.

Building new roads isn’t the answer. Warren knows this, and he is not afraid to say new tax revenue is the only way to pay for needed transportation improvements. He is ready to run for and win the Democratic nomination by boldly saying, “We need more revenue.”

Like Setti Warren, we realize the time for alternative transportation solutions has arrived and the economic future of Lynn and other cities depends on those solutions.

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