(The following was originally published on Evan Falchuk’s campaign website.)
In light of Governor Patrick’s July 29 announcement that he will be signing a bill authorizing a $1 billion expansion of the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, I reiterate my opposition to this move, which puts massive borrowing by the state for a project with unguaranteed financial return above the very real, day-to-day priorities of so many people in Massachusetts.
For starters, 44,000 kids under age five in Massachusetts don’t have access to early childhood education, in spite of numerous studies that show how much of a positive impact that kind of education has. Funding this would cost a fraction of the $1 billion being spent on convention space. When we talk about building our future to fit our modern times, it’s impossible to believe that a bigger convention center is more important than educating tens of thousands of kids in Massachusetts – now.
Second, we have over 400 structurally deficient bridges in Massachusetts. Should expanding the Boston Convention Center really take precedence over finally providing needed funding to fix these? Families drive over these bridges all the time, and our state’s government isn’t spending nearly enough money to fix them. We shouldn’t wait until tragedy strikes before we finally take firm action to address an increasingly critical issue.
Third, consider senior citizens in Massachusetts. Too many of them are facing bankruptcy or financial hardship paying for nursing home care and expensive prescription drugs. Consider how many older Massachusetts residents could be helped by even a fraction of that billion dollars proposed to expand the Boston Convention Center.
Spending $1 billion for this expansion – with limited debate and a questionable return to taxpayers – is another example of how state government priorities are too often misaligned with the actual priorities of people in Massachusetts. Our first priority must be to address these actual needs that people face – like education, safe infrastructure, and caring for our seniors, to name just a few concrete examples – rather than subsidizing enormously expensive building projects.