State View w/ House Majority Leader Ronald Mariano

State View w/ House Majority Leader Ronald Mariano


hello and welcome to the Quincy access
television studios I’m mark crosby thank you for joining us for state view a
program that looks at really issues that come from the state level a set up the
state level and affect you as a resident of the city of Quincy joining me today
is House Majority Leader that would be Ronald Mariano leader welcome Thank You
Mack happy to be here we should mention that in Quincy you represent the third
Norfork district Quincy Weymouth and three precincts in Hobart pleasure to
have you on certainly welcome the chat we’ll have today you were touring the
city not too long ago maybe a couple of weeks ago and one of those tours
included Quincy point of course yeah the heart of my district the the place where
I grew up the the flow the place my family has lived for about 75 years and
we were pleased to see some of the activity that’s been generated by some
of the improvements that we’ve been able to make beginning with the floor of a
bridge the for river bridge was something that that I began working on
when I first got elected and it was a struggle it was a struggle to get the
money the significant amount of money I don’t I forget what the total bill was
but it’s over 375 million I think and to get the the Commonwealth to make some
improvements around the bridge to improve the access in the traffic flow
in and out of the city of Quincy so but we were very fortunate after a real long
debate about the type of bridge that was was going to be to be built we settled
on the vertical lift that’s there now and in the vertical lift allows us to do
a couple of things it allows us to open the span for the tankers that come in
to to the sitka oil terminal and it allowed us to raise the height of the
bridge so that we don’t have openings for sailboats as frequently as we used
to so we’ve reduced the number of openings considerably and I think people
are sort of used to the bridge now in with the lighting I think people sort of
like the the the new design the new design and in in the way it’s presented
I heard some compliments that it’s it’s not as ugly as they thought it was gonna
be in some of some backhanded compliments but people seem to be to be
very happy with the fact that we’ve reduced a number of openings and with
that bridge change some improvements to the sidewalk both in North Weymouth and
in Quincy point we get the sidewalks done we get a new traffic like working
with the in ramadi was the council then and with Brad Crowell now we get a
traffic light and fibre in front of the fire station to improve access for that
for the engine to get in and out when this when this traffic and then we went
over to the other side of the shipyard to Quincy Avenue in East Howard Street
and got that danger it in the dangerous intersection where there’s been at least
two losses of lives squared up so that you can see the other side of the street
from from from the east Howard side right that wasn’t lined up as long as
I’ve lived in Quincy it’s not been lined up and it’s always been a danger spot
but we were able as part of the mitigation for the bridge in the order
to improve traffic flow in and out of Quincy we were able to make the case
that this is something that should get done and that’s why we came in and did a
very good job of of redesigning the intersection and giving us sight lines
on all four corners of the intersection though so so those have been the things
that I’ve been able to get done that significantly changed the corridor on
Washington Street and he’s starting to see he’s signing to see new businesses
you have the storage issue the storage building down there it’s
know that Brad worked with to get positioned as the entrance in the Quincy
point made it look like an office building rather than than just a storage
building and you’re starting to see some activity you know we have a day kiss on
the down there we have because we have the in a bay point which has been
killing it for a long time it’s a business that’s a little hard to get to
but it’s been very very successful in Quincy point it’s starting to see more
interest in some of the storefronts down there we’ve had a couple of bars and
restaurants open we’ve had a pizza shop you know you had the new MinuteClinic
at the corner where where Tom O’Brien suits right so you’ve seen some some
visible improvements and we we hope to continue to and the place would be
always on the commercial side at least in this area oh yeah yeah that’s
residential more commercial yeah we need that we we have well I guess we’ve seen
improvements both by squaring the intersection on Quincy Avenue it’s
allowed the permitting of a small condo section with the old Topman insurance
used to be so so you’re seeing is in both but but the hope is that we can
attract the majority of commercial to help alleviate the residential tax rate
there’s been a lot of talk and I know it’s currently abandoned but there’s was
talk and it was coarse a ferry in use from the area that we’re speaking of
Quincy point and that was run I believe by the MBTA yeah was at the time the
pier was was I won’t say condemned buoy but there were problems with the safety
of the pier and that had to be rebuilt and the T at the time was in no position
to rebuild for a ferry that was only running half a year so there has been no
discussion the discussion about a ferry who I’m more appropriate in the Squa an
area where we have the the pier was built by the MWRA to get out to Deer
Island now that pier is relatively new and it’s not used and would make sense
if we were going to have a ferry in Quincy to have it there but that brings
other issues around the location at Swan and Indian artists quantum it’s
difficult we’re working on on improving some of the entrance ways in the squad
room now so we will reevaluate that at some point
right now the tea the tea is one of the priorities in in the house right now
it’s transportation and the transportation in general and the tea in
particular well we’re talking about buses but of course trains
well trains are very important that is you know the red line has been neglected
in Quincy for an awful long time and then would you agree that folks some
folks that I see think it’s too much all at once as far as improvement it’s be
good when it’s over but well and I think you see I think you see if you look at
the woloson station and we just had the opening the other day shutting down the
station allowed this to be completed in little under two years okay that never
would have been done if we had done a piecemeal and tried to do it on weekends
and closing it down Fridays and in going to to Monday I think once people get
used to the transition of using buses in the short term the benefit of getting it
all done at once in reopening at once is way superior to doing it piecemeal so I
think that we’ve sort of learned that lesson the hard way and I think the
Wallis sensation stood approves out that it’s easier to shut it down get it fixed
and then move on to the next project and that’s what that he has to do that he
has to stop paying attention to the assets it has
one of the things that really gets me angry is is the the Quincy Center garage
issue where the garage maintenance was ignored for years until finally some
inspectors and building inspectors came in as a dis and shut it down it’s unsafe
it’s unrepairable I mean that’s outrageous that should never ever happen
and it’s it’s the ears and neglect around the T and one of the things that
we did is is we’ve whether he likes it or not we’ve dumped it right in the
governor’s lab now with his control board so that someone is directly
responsible to us for the improvements in the maintenance on the T and we’re
gonna hold his feet to the fire and we have been and it’s been a fairly good
relationship up until now we’ll see how it goes as
things go on but but our main focus in the house is to make sure the T takes
care of the things they have before we begin to get into discussions about
fairies and silver line extensions in the commuter rail extensions town the
Fall River all of which will improve the economy of the Commonwealth but but have
to be done in a fiscally responsible manner and you have to have workable
trains the cars themselves yeah that was a problem that was a problem and and we
think though that we’ve we fixed that and and we’ve moved on to I think a
relationship with with a Chinese manufacturer that appears to be working
I do need to talk about the compressor station before we leave the River Basin
completely your thoughts on that you think you’re optimistic the plan to
build will be abandoned you think possible no no I know it has
federal approval so what are the hoods that it will well the only we have two
bites at the Apple cesium and and I guess cesium coastal zone management
it’s it’s close to the floor of a basin and they’re the only ones in and they’re
not gonna stop at all they’re gonna do is put some controls on it I’ve managed
to get legislation through to to put an end monitoring station
it was just approved and we were just meeting with the governor’s folks and
DEP to position this where we think it’ll be most effective because it isn’t
just the compressor station I’m concerned with I’ve been concerned about
the floor of a basin for a long time and we’ve we’ve had these fights for years
when when the when the pelletizing plant went in we had a fight over there
monitoring when the the the power plant went in we had the same fight and and
people a suspect about the air quality in that area and they should be and for
years we’ve been fighting with the DEP to give us some data and we haven’t been
able to get it but we’re going to use this opportunity with the compressor
station to make sure we have a measurement of air quality and we we are
it’s going to be extensive it’s gonna cover all the potential problem gases
that can be emitted and we’re going to collect the data and over time if this
is a problem we will take some action what’s your thought about the proximity
to neighborhoods simply in the event of a fire well it’s a problem it’s a
problem but we don’t control the process the feds control the process right and
the compressor station initially there was not a huge backlash against a
compressor station initially it was only when the petition has doubled the size
of it to increase the the amount of natural gas it can pass through the
pipelines that it really get the attention of
everyone because now would put it in a position of causing significant damage
to a wide wide area and that was just intolerable and that’s when you begin to
see the the citizens groups and people start to to mobilize against it
the unfortunate thing is we don’t have much of a federal impact we we had
congressman Lynch involved and he was a great champion of this but we were
unable to crack the the permitting process at the federal level we had a
couple of commissioners come in and our arguments fell on deaf ears we had a
meeting at Weymouth the Abigail Allen school and we had two commissioners
there and we all testified and there were a number of citizens that testified
maybe we just couldn’t so couldn’t make that case let’s talk about the climate
and renewable energy and wind turbines and when you stand there you’re for the
use of I’ve been I’ve been a champion of offshore wind ever since I had the
opportunity to take a trip to Denmark and see how much power is generated by
turbines wind turbines and how productive small which looks like very
small turbines because they’re they’re so far offshore can produce and wind
turbines offshore wind we got a bad name because of the cape cod gentleman who
tried to put him off of Nantucket Nantucket Sound one of the reasons that
that he was met with so much resistance is because it only generated – I think
2.5 megawatts per turbine and the turbines were way too close to shore if
you move down to Fall River in New Bedford where the continental shelf goes
out for miles and miles and miles and it’s flat with the technology that’s in
place today the turbines at nine megawatts
significantly larger than the 2.5 and they’re getting bigger and with those
nine megawatts with 50 turbines you’ll be able to power Fall River another 50
you could do New Bedford that’s a significant movement to its clean energy
for the carnival and we have acres and acres of area that we can use for
offshore wind and because the Shelf is so flat and goes out so far you position
these out and you can barely and and I saw this with my own eyes in Denmark you
can barely see the tip of of anything and it looked inside to tell what it is
out there it keeps it away from the maritime the the the pleasure boat is
because it’s so far out show that they you don’t you don’t really run into them
the birds seem to to adapt and the commercial travel boats they’re far
enough out they don’t impact the the commercial traffic on the water so so
there’s a lot of reasons why we should look at that the reason that that got us
interested in it well you know everyone’s wants clean energy we’re all
working towards so it’s getting away from from carbon producing energy
sources wind is renewable and once the windmills are up the power source is
free and it’s hard to beat free free is good free lowers your cost per kilowatt
hour hour at least allows you to maintain a flat cost per kilowatt hour
and we have a new Braeden power point that just went offline which we can use
to create a Center for offshore wind where the power lines could come in and
then move off of course and on the walls we look at the shutdown of the pilgrim
power plant that’s another reason we’re gonna need the power we’re gonna need
the power because no one’s gonna reopen a nuclear
so it’s it’s you say everybody’s on board but somehow I don’t believe the
Trump administration is on board and it’s not there’s nothing I can do about
those folks I don’t know what they’re doing
III just it is frustrating being in state government and in having an
unpredictable federal government it does present us with a lot of problems they
do you want to talk about prescription drug pricing and your interest in
promoting transparency yeah prescription drugs are a real challenge
for us because you’re starting to see two distinct problems one is the high
cost of drugs that exists now the fact that insulin prices have more than
tripled is incomprehensible to me I don’t understand why a product that’s
been around for a long time it originally was free well yeah it was
free for a while but I’m very sure well but but really hasn’t changed in its
production I mean people will say well you know they don’t use pigs anymore
they use chemicals but but I would think that would be even cheaper but the fact
is that the formula hasn’t significantly changed since its discovery the same
what that depends but the prices seem to be going up and up and up then you have
the other issue around orphan drugs which are specific for one disease like
silver salaat Aoife for Hep C which it when I got the market was almost
$200,000 a shot but yet it cured Hep C so you had you you lose those medical
costs downstream if the person who had the Hep C and is out cured is no longer
in danger of losing a kidney or having to go on
dialysis and write and receive treatments for 20 or 30 years so these
are savings that comes around with that so we have to we have to attack this two
different angles and we have begun we we’ve filed a bill and we’ve taken
action to to have some of these pharmaceutical companies go before the
HPC and explain why insulin has gone up as much as it has explained why EpiPens
have increased by three times we can attack the sovaldi and other issues a
little bit differently because we understand that the advances that we’re
getting today right in Cambridge from some of these new new medicines and new
companies securing Hep C cystic fibrosis is now two or three strains are now
manageable with with medication so we’re making advancements I mean I was a dana
fiber and and they tell me that lung cancer will be next to go they’ll be
able to cure and control lung cancer so we’re having these great breakthroughs
in in medical science but they’re expensive they’re expensive one of the
most telling things for me was I I attended a breakfast meeting there was a
young man from Harvard who had cystic fibrosis in his medicine costs about
$400 a month that’s his his out-of-pocket cost right and but it
allowed him to lead a normal life he had taken up jogging he was running it was
exercising he is you know he was attending school regularly was a senior
at Harvard and he said I don’t know what to do when I get a job interview do I
tell my new employer that I have a medical bill of over four hundred bucks
a month in order to be functional and that’s gonna be on your insurance
I mean so we have those types of issues that we have to figure out a way to
spread that burden out for some of these diseases that allow our sick folks to be
productive so it’s a challenge and and we’ve been working on solutions and
talking to insurance companies talking to the drug companies trying to find
common ground because no one wants to see these people left out because their
medicines are so expensive talking about maybe the latest news regarding long
illnesses we talking about we’ll stay on the topic of medication and talking
about vaping vaping has become a big concern their business most recently
it’s affecting they don’t know what these lung illnesses there are exactly
I know Quincy just received a grant in the form of $15,000 for vaping education
well there’s a couple of bills in the house that are gonna get a hearing this
session and I hope we take action on before the end of the session next July
that would ban vaping through two kids I think it’s 18 is the the age now in the
bill now and my hope is that we will take that up sometime before the end of
our session because I don’t see any value to allowing kids to and have
access to these products they they are not gonna help anyone and the concern I
know senator Koenen has been in and talked about the flavoring of these of
these vaping devices and that that is really an attraction for yeah kids well
though not only the flavors with the advertising it it’s all meant to appeal
the kids and you know when you’re that age you’re impressionable you wanna you
want to fit in you want to be cool in the ads keep pounding you telling you
this is a way to do it and so consequently kids pick up the habit so
but I think you’re starting to see folks understand that we have to be me being
more responsible it happened with cigarettes CVS dropped them we have to
continue the education of folks that that these products all come with some
danger we should mention that Michigan was the first state now to prohibit the
sale of e-cigarettes New York is calling for a ban yeah it followed by as you had
indicated Massachusetts and also California yeah you can see you can see
people beginning to take notice this is this is not productive in that we we
have to take some action and we will we only have a couple minutes left I do
want to talk about a couple of acts that you have in legislation that’s a one
that is regarding the promoting innovation in elder care services well
if you read the papers you read that our nursing home situation is is sort of at
a crossroads and as people my age baby boomers are aging out into the nursing
home era we have some issues we we have some issues on how we fund nursing homes
we have a we have we don’t have any insurance products that protect folks as
they enter into their their golden years and and have to pay for for extensive
care so we’ve we’ve commissioned that we in the initiatives budget we we put some
money and say help the nursing homes by raising their base rate reimbursement
and with that we asked for a study so let’s talk about how we can creatively
fund some of these nursing homes and create some some folks who want to be in
the marketplace with some stimulus because right now
there is a real concern will it be enough beds in where will those beds be
the location is another another problem we seem to be losing beds in our
population centers which does not bode well for the future so I believe believe
it or not we are at the end of the program that flies does but that means
that you’ll just have to come back and talk at a different time but thank you
very much for joining me it’s been a pleasure happy to do it the next time
thank you at home for watching you have been watching a program of Quincy access
television please continue to watch QA TV for more locally produced programming

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *