Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Authority for Governor’s Travel Ban

Pursuant to the power provided by Chapter 639 of the Acts of 1950, Governor Deval L. Patrick issued a Motor Vehicle Travel Ban by Executive Order. The ban began at 4:00 PM on February 8, and was lifted at 4:00 PM on February 9.
The travel ban issued in anticipation of dangerous conditions caused by winter storm Nemo is the first time that a Massachusetts Governor has used this power to close the roads since the Blizzard of ’78. Former Governor Michael Dukakis banned traffic for a week in February of 1978. He is quoted in a Boston Globe article dated February 9 saying,  “There’s no question that the governor’s doing exactly the right thing – have people home, get them off the streets, and just cool it…If forecasting had been more accurate, I would have started the process” sooner.
Photographs of Route 128 during the Blizzard of 1978 give us something to contemplate.