The Full Executive Office of Transportation and Public Works sent me the full text of the Massachusetts Mobility Compact (PDF). It is even more disappointing than Bernard Cohen's op-ed column.
The purpose of the compact is to coordinate the various state transportation-related agencies, which is a great idea. But, the agencies have inherently conflicting objectives. They need more than a promise to talk amongst themselves, they need a clear vision that will help them resolve the inevitable conflicts that will arise.
The compact doesn't have that vision. Section 2 is the compact's closest thing to a vision statement:
The Compact’s principal mission shall be to improve the delivery of transportation services in the Commonwealth by communicating regularly and more effectively and by adopting a cooperative and coordinated approach to transportation planning, design, construction, and operation, aimed principally at:a. increasing mobility for people and goods in, across and through the Commonwealth in a safe and efficient manner;b. promoting and adopting administrative efficiency and program improvement initiatives between and among transportation agencies and authorities; andc. sharing best practice techniques for implementation across transportation modes.
Not a single mention of (or even allusion to) global warming, the health effects of traffic congestion, or the quality-of-life effects of traffic congestion. Nothing.
Arguably, the Massachusetts Mobility is meant to be limited in scope to its administrative purpose: to make the agencies play together better. But Section 2 seems an awful lot like a vision statement. If it's not, then the thing desperately needs one.
The lack of a good strong vision statement in the Massachusetts Mobility Compact means that Secretary Cohen's op-ed is the most complete statement of the Commonwealth's transportation priorities.
That's not promising.
This is a transportation policy?