Letters to the editor - Springfield Union News

Sunday, December 11, 2005

State thinks of Springfield in 'Third-World' category

As a former citizen of Springfield who still has many friends and family within the city's borders, I write this message. I also lived in and went to school in Boston, so I know how much pull the city of Boston has on the commonwealth of Massachusetts's budget

The city of Springfield would not be in half the trouble it currently is in if it got its share of state monies like the city of Boston. The very condition of the Forest Park curve along Interstate-91 vs. the state of the Big Dig speaks volumes on the difference between Boston and Springfield. The differences in the condition of Worcester's and Springfield's train stations further shows that Springfield is viewed as a "Third-World city." Worcester is inside the expanding second-class region known as "metro Boston." Maybe someday, with high speed rail, Springfield can join the ranks of metro Boston and become, at least, a second-class city.

Springfield Mayor Charles V. Ryan is a good man who loves his city. Having gone to Classical High School in the 1940s and been mayor back in the 1960s, he could have sat back and left the city's problems to someone else. Instead, he decided to try to do something, only to find out that Gov. W. Mitt Romney has little use for anything west of Worcester and east of exit 2 on the Massachusetts Turnpike.

Over the past 20 years, the city of Springfield has been exploited, used and ignored. While I know that the city of Chelsea has gone into receivership, I am sure that receivership for a metro Boston city is not going to be the same thing as it will be for Springfield. While Springfield is one of the best cities at collecting taxes from its citizens, it is one of the worst at getting its fair share at the state aid trough. Boston and the metro areas are served first. For example, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority is constantly being propped up while Pioneer Valley Transit Authority is constantly being cut. As PVTA shrinks the state then justifies further reductions to PVTA while shrinking MBTA ridership would warrant major studies.

In conclusion, while the city is owed back taxes, it's also owed many years of back state aid. So either treat the city of Springfield like the city of Boston or one of its metro areas, or continue to create the atmosphere that inspired Shays' Rebellion over 200 years ago.