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.
Whittier Bridge/I-95 Project Traffic Update posted on Sep 19
Work on the Whittier Bridge/I-95 Project in Newburyport and Amesbury will require extended lane closure hours beginning next week. Beginning on Monday, September 22, the hours of daytime construction will extend the I-95 Northbound right lane closure the associated right lane closure on I-95 Northbound …Continue Reading Whittier Bridge/I-95 Project Traffic Update
Take the Clean Air Challenge! Join Us September 22-26 posted on Sep 18
Massachusetts travelers will improve air-quality by choosing more sustainable transportation options during the Massachusetts Clean Air Challenge (formerly Car-Free Week). This year, Massachusetts challenges you to explore your commuting options and Shift Your Mode from September 22nd-26th. By trying greener modes including carpooling, vanpooling, bicycling, …Continue Reading Take the Clean Air Challenge! Join Us September 22-26
MBTA Silver Line to Chelsea Approved posted on Sep 17
The MassDOT Board of Directors today approved a construction contract to extend the MBTA’s increasingly popular Silver Line from East Boston to Chelsea. A project funded entirely by Governor Deval Patrick’s 2013 Transportation Finance Plan, the Silver Line will be extended past the Seaport to …Continue Reading MBTA Silver Line to Chelsea Approved