Governor Patrick Talks Transportation With AAA Board
(BOSTON, September 13, 2012) — Transportation infrastructure may not be the most glamorous work of government, but it is a crucial part of the state’s growth strategy, Governor Deval Patrick said earlier today at a meeting of the national Board of Directors of AAA.
The Governor said improving the state’s roads, rails and bridges – in particular, through the five-year plan supported by a newly signed $1.5 billion transportation bond bill – will create jobs and a platform for future economic development.
“Increasingly, I think it is incumbent upon us to connect transportation strategy with economic development strategy,” Patrick said. “We’re talking about a train to the South Coast – to New Bedford and Fall River. It’s not just about convenience; it’s about opening up that region to the innovation economy in Boston. We need to think that way, talk that way, plan our transportation from that perspective, so people get a sense of the whole thing.”
The AAA Board held its quarterly meeting at the Ritz-Carlton, Boston Common hotel.
“This is the first time a sitting Governor has addressed AAA’s national Board of Directors,” said Boston attorney and former federal prosecutor Wayne A. Budd, national AAA Board Chairman and board member at AAA Southern New England. “Issues affecting the motoring and traveling public are of great interest to AAA, and we welcome Governor Patrick’s insights and views on these issues.”
Governor Patrick discussed the value of public-private partnerships such as the one that has allowed six AAA offices to offer select Registry of Motor Vehicles services.
“It has really not just relieved the pressure on our Registry of Motor Vehicles, but frankly, it has brought a more effective service to people in a greater range of convenient locations,” Patrick said. “It has made a difference, and it has helped in a time of stress on the budget.”
Governor Patrick’s plans for improving roads and bridges and developing a long-term strategic plan for transportation improvements in the Commonwealth won enthusiastic support and praise from AAA board members attending the meeting.
“Traffic safety and transportation-related advocacy are a major part of AAA’s national strategic focus, “ said Mark A. Shaw, AAA Southern New England President and CEO and national AAA Board member. “We have worked with the Patrick administration on several matters of interest to our Massachusetts members, and plan for more collaboration in the future.”
On the issue of a primary seatbelt law, for which AAA has long advocated, the Governor said the medical toll of unbelted crashes upsets him. The auto club plans to renew its campaign for a primary seatbelt law in the next legislative session.
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