No serious attempt at transforming the way we deliver transportation services in the Commonwealth could be attempted without a real understanding of the long arc of Massachusetts transportation history -
particularly since the end of the second World War. Yesterday, some of our history came to 10 Park Plaza for lunch with me and the MTA's Director of Human Resources, Joan Makie.
In this case, the history was John Driscoll. John was appointed the second Chairman of the Turnpike Authority in 1964 by Governor Endicott Peabody to replace William F. Callahan who died that year. He was at that time the Commonwealth's 38 year-old Treasurer and a former three-term State Representative from Dorchester. He served as Chairman until 1987, having served under five Governors – Peabody, Volpe, Sargent, Dukakis (two times), and King. Along the way, he built this organization. In my remarks to the MTA Board at its last Board meeting last week, I noted that while some are happy to see it go on November 1, many of our workers and other observers are sad to see John Driscoll's Turnpike Authority go away.
John is now a very vibrant and healthy 84 year old. We first took care of the conversion of his health care benefits to the Group Insurance Commission – he is after all, an MTA retiree. We followed that with a greeting to some of the staff and then had a longer conversation about his career. He told and Joan and me that he keeps current on transportation and other local issues, and that he wishes us luck with
MassDOT. He talked about Ted Kennedy's role in his appointment as Chairman, his breakfast with Sonny McDonough who then controlled the Governor's Council just prior to his confirmation, and about how proud he was to bring on some many quality workers to the enterprise. We talked about the mood in transportation in the early 1960's when both Callahan and the State Highway Commissioner DiNatale were under Federal investigation, and how he admired John Volpe. He told us that he was particularly proud of his role in getting both the United States Congress and the Commonwealth's legislature to create the MTA's retirement system, of his role in the creation of Copley Place, and of the fact that Turnpike workers plowed out large parts of eastern Massachusetts following the Blizzard of '78.
As he left he told us to keep plowing the Turnpike to the same excellent standards to which our customers have grown accustomed. Good advice, particularly when it reinforces two central goals of MassDOT – to focus on service and to bring the best of what each of our highway organizations does best to all of our roads. It's time we got on with doing so.
MassDOT Board Names DePaola Interim MBTA General Manager posted on Feb 25
The MassDOT Board of Directors voted unanimously to make Frank DePaola, currently serving as Highway Administrator and MassDOT’s Chief Operating Officer, Interim General Manager of the MBTA. MassDOT Secretary Stephanie Pollack also announced today that Thomas Tinlin, MassDOT’s Chief of Highway Operations and Maintenance, will …Continue Reading MassDOT Board Names DePaola Interim MBTA General Manager
Pothole Report: Call 857-DOT-INFO posted on Feb 24
MassDOT again this year is enlisting the public’s help this winter season in reporting pothole locations on state roads, allowing repairs to be made as quickly as possible. To report a pothole, drivers are encouraged to call MassDOT’s Pothole Hotline at 857-DOT-INFO (857-368-4636). Potholes are …Continue Reading Pothole Report: Call 857-DOT-INFO
MBTA Late Night Service Future Public Meetings Set posted on Feb 23
The MBTA invites you to attend a public informational meeting to share your comments about the future of late-night service. The meetings are scheduled as follows: Monday, March 2, 6 p.m.–8 p.m., District Hall, Assembly Space, 75 Northern Ave., Boston Wednesday, March 4, 5:30 …Continue Reading MBTA Late Night Service Future Public Meetings Set