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.
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.
Grafton, Millbury: I-90 Resurfacing Project Moves Forward posted on Apr 25
MassDOT is continuing to move forward with a $13.6 million project to resurface and repair an 8-mile section of I-90 (the Massachusetts Turnpike) on both the eastbound and westbound sides in Millbury and Grafton. This project will have work completed in two phases: during the …Continue Reading Grafton, Millbury: I-90 Resurfacing Project Moves Forward
MBTA: Strategic Plan Adopted posted on Apr 24
The MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board (FMCB) today approved an MBTA Strategic Plan, a document that fulfills the FMCB requirement in its enabling legislation that required development of such a plan. This plan serves as a blueprint for institutionalizing the objectives and strategies needed …Continue Reading MBTA: Strategic Plan Adopted
Sumner Tunnel Toll Demolition Moving Forward posted on Apr 24
MassDOT is moving forward with toll demolition and road reconstruction operations at the existing toll plaza at the entrance to the Sumner Tunnel in East Boston. Work-related logistical activities at the Sumner Tunnel began last week including marking utilities and installing temporary signage and the …Continue Reading Sumner Tunnel Toll Demolition Moving Forward