A guy was killed on the Massachusetts Turnpike yesterday while changing a tire on the side of the road. (The Pike, as we call it, runs east-west down the middle of the state out to the New York border from Boston.) The guy had done everything right, according to officials, but got clipped by a tractor-trailer. Now, unions for Pike employees are criticizing a decision to cut back on emergency patrols.

    John Hess, who has been doing emergency Pike patrols for 33 years, was just six miles down the road at the time of the accident and was the first to arrive on the scene. “It’s a sad and tragic thing,” said Hess yesterday. “He did everything the right way, the way he was supposed to.” Hess and others are now questioning the wisdom of the Pike board’s decision last month to eliminate emergency vehicles west of Route 495 and limit their use in greater Boston from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. - changes that will go into effect April 1.

Um, the guy got killed anyway, even though the patrols are still at full strength. So someone could argue that they don’t provide all the service they’re cracked up to. Besides it’s another case of the taxpayer paying for something the private sector could do.

    Cullen is even more blunt. “If you’re a 60-year-old guy or a 20-year-old woman that doesn’t know how to change a tire . . . they’re saying go (take a hike),” he said.

Anyone ever hear of AAA? the State Police? If you break down, you’ll have to pay for the privilege of being bailed out. A AAA membership costs about $40 per year. I think that’s cheap insurance when you break down and it even works when you’re not driving the Pike. Once again, unions for public employees trying to scare the public into believing that cutting their jobs will endanger the taxpayers, when all it endangers is fat in the budget.

Written by
Domenico Bettinelli