BOSTON (CBS) — How did Massachusetts make out in 2018?
Just look at our infrastructure, both physical and institutional.
Let’s start with some local infrastructure failures.
- One of the worst gas explosions in U.S. history hit the Merrimack Valley in September, killing a man and forcing 30,000 people from their homes for months. The apparent cause – incompetent gas-pipe replacement work by Columbia Gas.
- The MBTA continued to suffer from derailments, faulty equipment, and a range of other breakdowns, with commuter rail service especially hard hit. With billions in new investment and new trains on the way, T officials are promising better days ahead. But they didn’t come soon enough to save T General Manager Luis Ramirez from losing his job.
- And when a March Nor’easter caused eye-popping flooding in Boston’s Seaport district, it highlighted the city’s vulnerability to rising seas and increasingly volatile storms.
But there were moments of competence for our political infrastructure this year, including:
- An unusual “grand bargain” brokered on Beacon Hill between business, labor and activist groups that kept divisive tax questions off the November ballot.
- It was that spirit of compromise that paved the way for Gov. Charlie Baker to ride his well-funded campaign infrastructure to re-election.
- And how about the team Alex Cora and the Red Sox constructed this year? It was built to win now and that’s what they did, the fourth Boston World Series victory since 2004.
- And as the year ends, our state’s newest business, the pot industry, is finally up and running, raking in big dollars. Perhaps the tax revenues from it will help rebuild faltering local infrastructure elsewhere.
A complete infrastructure upgrade for our state will take a lot more money than pot sales can ever offer. But in 2018 we saw that some of our most important intangible assets – intelligence, creativity, and a sense of community – continue to thrive, giving hope of more progress in 2019.