Saturday, May 05, 2007

"Fed Up"

Friday's Boston Herald blasted the $333,000,000 price tag that the Turnpike Authority just added to the bill for the Big Dig. The total cost of the project is slowly but surely creeping up on the $15 billion mark. From the article:

The cost correction comes as [Governor Deval] Patrick tries to exert more control over the project and the Turnpike Authority, whose shaky management has provoked federal probes into the project’s finances and construction quality.

"We're fed up with this," an administration source told the Herald last night. "We want transparency and we want an accurate reflection of the costs. We have little or no confidence that the Turnpike Authority can manage itself, let alone the Big Dig."
"Fed up" does not even begin to describe how I imagine most Massachusetts residents feel about the Big Dig. The exasperation with the project is a big part of the reason why Bay State voters have turned to people outside of the political establishment in the last two gubernatorial elections. What I'd like to know is where the Governor is in implementing these recommendations he had after the 2006 death of Milena Del Valle in the I-90 Connector tunnel. Where's the independent auditor? Where's the "stem-to-stern" review? Where is the effort to hold contractors accountable? What ever happened to Senator Marian Walsh's call for a Big Dig Review Board?

I'm encouraged that some local pols are calling to eliminate the Turnpike Authority, but that still doesn't address the question of where all that money went, whether the project is safe, and how the government can restore enough public confidence to undertake a large public works project ever again.