T notes: Riders embracing early morning buses

New commuter rail platform in Worcester; big disruptions coming on D Line

MBTA OFFICIALS SAY the addition of early morning buses on 10 routes has increased ridership by more than 900 riders and reduced crowding. One example is the Route 455 bus from Lynn to Wonderland. Its first trip used to leave Lynn at 5 a.m. carrying an average of 51 passengers, with 12 of them standing.

A new Quincy

Building boom looks to move city beyond its past without leaving it behind

QUINCY MAYOR THOMAS KOCH calls the MBTA’s Red Line the “spine” of his aging city. With four stops in North Quincy, Wollaston, Quincy Center, and Quincy Adams, the T’s Red Line allows residents to move around the city and connect with Boston, Cambridge, and Somerville to the north. These transit connections have long been the

Rollins rolls to big win in Suffolk DA race

Outsider Harrington topples Berkshire DA, Ryan reelected in MIddlesex

AGAINST THE BACKDROP of a national rethinking of criminal justice policies, Suffolk County residents voted for big change in the district attorney’s office as Rachael Rollins, a former federal prosecutor running on strong reform platform, topped a five-way Democratic primary field in the contest to replace incumbent Dan Conley, who did not seek reelection. Change

Will MA hydro contract increase, or decrease, emissions?

Hydro-Quebec dismisses claims by enviros, power generators

MASSACHUSETTS SIGNED a $16 billion, 20-year contract to import hydro-electricity from Quebec to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but energy advocates and other power generators are saying the deal is unlikely to move the needle on emissions and could actually increase them. The debate revolves around the meaning of emissions. The contract will definitely lower greenhouse

Two candidates bucking the incumbents-rule rule

Political competition is a rare phenomenon in Mass.

WHEN IT COMES to the Massachusetts Legislature, voters won’t have a lot of choice this fall, either during the primary on September 4 or the general election in November. Seventy-eight percent of the 200 candidates running for the House and Senate will face no opposition in the primary. Most of that group (55 percent) will

In Middlesex DA’s race, a progressive face-off

Ryan facing spirited challenge with calls for reform in the air

DONNA PATALANO, who is challenging incumbent Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan, looks like exactly the right candidate at the right time. The Winchester attorney is pushing a strong reform platform focused on addressing racial disparities in the criminal justice system and the need to rethink policies of the tough-on-crime era of the 1980s and 90s.

In Suffolk DA’s race, calls to coalesce

Groups urge blacks, progressives not to split their vote

WHAT HAD BEEN a strong undercurrent in the Suffolk County district attorney’s race is now becoming an open topic of conversation – and consternation: The fact that candidates with similar profiles in the five-way Democratic primary could split the vote and hand the election to a candidate who wins far less than majority support. That’s

Gateway Cities discover the power of food

Fresh veggies, koshari turn food deserts into oases

PHOTOGRAPHS BY KEN RICHARDSON FOOD HAS ALWAYS LOOMED LARGE in the life of Dimple Rana. While growing up in Revere, she helped her parents, immigrants from India, work in Indian grocery stores in Somerville. Later, she helped manage convenience stores owned by her family. But working retail wasn’t her ambition. She promptly left Revere after

Restarting the transportation funding debate

With millionaire tax shot down, what else is under consideration?

WITH THE MILLIONAIRE TAX ballot question shot down by the Supreme Judicial Court, the debate over state transportation funding is slowly starting to shift gears on Beacon Hill. Rep. William Straus of Mattapoisett, the House chairman of the Legislature’s Committee on Transportation, said it’s time to start having a debate about alternative revenue measures. He

CommonWealth’s Summer 2018 issue is out!

Our latest - and last - quarterly print magazine comes out today

Our latest – and last – quarterly print magazine comes out today. Yes, that’s right. It will be the last one, as we focus all of our attention and resources on our website. As I said in the editor’s note, I want to thank everyone who shared their thoughts over the last several months about the course

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