The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

28 January 2005

The Real Reasons Massachusetts is Losing Population

The American Spectator's latest issue explores the real reasons behind the loss of population in Massachusetts, the only state contracting rather than expanding:

(The American Spectator)
Massachusetts touts its universities and "highly educated" population and job market. But, as Garreau said, "Every one of those high rolling six digit jobs has to be supported by 20 people who make sandwiches, fix Xerox machines, etc. You can't do without those people."

SO HOW DID MASSACHUSETTS get this way? Easy. For at least 20 years, Boston and Beacon Hill pols have refused to vote for expanded airport capacity anywhere other than Logan Airport, which is (perversely) stuck right in the middle of Boston Harbor.

One of Joel Garreau's favorite conversational gambits explores the evolution of the nineteenth century city from the intersection of harbors and railroads. "Warehouses lead to whorehouses, whorehouses to a police force, a police force to courthouses." VoilĂ , civilization. "Blow it up seven or eight times, and you've got Boston or Paris."

But today's modern port is the airport. Massachusetts has a good one in the midstate city of Worcester, now pretty much a gentle joke in Commonwealth affairs. A new runway or two and expanded terminal capacity in Worcester, located directly west of Boston about 50 miles down the Mass Pike, would create the edges to open up Massachusetts' Boston-centered Scrabble cluster. Extend the suburban rail links to Worcester, and the state could blossom.


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