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.
Casey Arborway: Night Work Begins July 26 posted on Jul 24
As part of the ongoing Casey Arborway Project, night work will resume beginning Sunday, July 26th through Thursday, July 30 and continue for approximately 5 weeks. Night work hours are 8PM to 6AM. Night work is necessary for public safety and will take place with …Continue Reading Casey Arborway: Night Work Begins July 26
Burns Bridge Update: Traffic Shift posted on Jul 22
The Kenneth F. Burns Memorial Bridge project in Worcester-Shrewsbury continues to move toward completion. A traffic shift will take place tonight, Wednesday, July 22nd, when eastbound traffic will be shifted from the northern half of the Burns Bridge to its permanent location on the bridge’s …Continue Reading Burns Bridge Update: Traffic Shift
MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board Convenes First Meeting posted on Jul 21
The five-member Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s (MBTA) Fiscal and Management Control Board (FMCB) appointed by Governor Charlie Baker convened its first public meeting today at the State Transportation Building in Boston. The Board represents a key reform recommended by the Governor’s MBTA Special Panel following …Continue Reading MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board Convenes First Meeting