Post Content

 Mullan_h

by Jeffrey B. Mullan, Executive Director, Turnpike Authority

This week, former Governor Romney was honored with the unveiling of his official portrait, which is now hanging in the outer office of the executive suite at the State House.   There, it joins the portraits of our last six Governors, back to Frank Sargent, who was, of course, our Public Works Commissioner in the 1960s.  Less well noticed was that Romney's placement on the wall caused the displacement of Sargent's predecessor, also a former Public Works Commissioner, John A. Volpe, who was Governor of the Commonwealth for much of the 1960s.

Volpe As we pursued transportation reform over the last two years, we talked a lot about John Volpe and his impact on Massachusetts transportation.  The son of immigrants, Volpe rose to become a three-term Governor, the first U.S. Secretary of Transportation, and the nation's ambassador to Italy.  As Commissioner, he did battle with another transportation giant, William F. Callahan, and pushed for the creation of the Dewey Square Tunnel.  As Governor, he laid the groundwork for the establishment of the Executive Office of Transportation in 1969.  While U.S. Secretary of Transportation, he was at the forefront of the nation's shift to the need for community planning in transportation and was witness to the stop the highway movement that began right here in Boston.  That effort led directly to increased investment in public transit and, ultimately, to the Central Artery/Tunnel Project.  In recognition of his contribution to transportation, the U.S. Department of Transportation rededicated its national facility in Cambridge as the John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center in 1990.

While Volpe's role in our business is unquestioned, he became important to our work on transportation reform because not since he was Governor have we so fundamentally changed the way we govern transportation in the Commonwealth.  His career is also a reminder to us that decisions we make now have an impact on citizens for a long time.  How ironic that, on the very day that the transportation reform bill became law, Volpe's portrait was removed from the executive suite.  He no longer needs a place of honor at the State House.  His legacy is secure.  So long as we have Chapter 6C of the Massachusetts General Laws, Ambassador Volpe will be very much a part of our profession.

Written By:

Recent Posts

Governor Patrick Celebrates MBTA Assembly Station Opening posted on Sep 2

Governor Patrick Celebrates MBTA Assembly Station Opening

Governor Deval Patrick today joined state and local officials and Somerville business owners at the opening ceremony of the new Assembly Orange Line MBTA station. Assembly is the first new MBTA station in 27 years and is a key element in the creation of a   …Continue Reading Governor Patrick Celebrates MBTA Assembly Station Opening

Green Line Extension Public Meeting Set posted on Sep 2

Green Line Extension Public Meeting Set

The MBTA will hold a public meeting to discuss early construction elements of the Green Line Extension project that will begin this fall. The meeting is scheduled as follows: Thursday, September 18, 6:00-8:00pm, Holiday Inn, 30 Washington Street, Somerville Green Line Extension construction will be   …Continue Reading Green Line Extension Public Meeting Set

RMV: New Boston Branch Location, Low Number Lottery Drawing posted on Aug 28

RMV: New Boston Branch Location, Low Number Lottery Drawing

MassDOT Registrar of Motor Vehicles Celia J. Blue announced the annual low number license plate lottery drawing will be held on September 10 at the RMV’s soon-to-open new Boston branch, Haymarket Center at 136 Blackstone Street. “As we move our operations to a new Boston   …Continue Reading RMV: New Boston Branch Location, Low Number Lottery Drawing