Speaking of New England drivers, Brian McGrory's piece in today's Boston Globe about New Hampshire's failure to install EZPass readers in time for the summer season is a hoot. (I'm quoting liberally here because the link will become pay-only in a few days.)
Understand, virtually every other state up and down the Eastern Seaboard grabbed hold of the technology years ago, such that a motorist can drive from Maine to the southern tip of Virginia without ever having to stop to pay a toll.Oh, well. Maybe drivers can use the time sitting at the Hampton tollbooth backup to study up on their driving rules and regs.
Except in New Hampshire, where the state slogan shouldn't be ''Live Free or Die," whatever that means, but ''Sit and Wait, Sucker." Every summer weekend, the traffic slows to a crawl at the Hampton tolls, backing up for 3, 4, 5, or more miles, all because the state looks at E-ZPass like some futuristic endeavor they can't possibly comprehend.
I called up to the state capitol this week to ask why. I half expected the governor, John Lynch, to climb atop a telephone poll, one peg at a time, and talk to me with the receiver in one hand and the mouthpiece in the other. Instead, his spokeswoman, Pamela Walsh, summed up the delay in one word: tokens.
Most New Hampshire people use them, and benefit from the 50 percent discount they get. E-ZPass, because of the costs to administer it, would offer residents only a 30 percent break.
''He doesn't want to barrel ahead on this," Walsh said.
Tokens? Barrel ahead? If these people had been around in the 1700s, we'd be playing ''Hail to the Chief" for Tony Blair. Do the people of New Hampshire still use quill pens and parchment? Do they watch 13-inch black-and-white Philcos? Do they use outhouses?