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.
Worcester: Belmont Street Bridge Opens posted on Mar 23
MassDOT has announced that the Belmont Street Bridge that carries Route 9 over Interstate 290 in Worcester is now open to its permanent configuration. The bridge now features two eastbound lanes toward Shrewsbury, two westbound lanes toward Lincoln Square and a newly-added, left-turn lane through …Continue Reading Worcester: Belmont Street Bridge Opens
Highway Assistance Patrol Program: MAPFRE Sponsorship Extension posted on Mar 23
MassDOT is pleased to announce an agreement to extend MAPFRE Insurance’s sponsorship of the Highway Assistance Patrol program (HAP) through March 2018. This extension marks the 15th year of partnership between MassDOT and MAPFRE in providing excellent customer service and safe, quick clearance on the …Continue Reading Highway Assistance Patrol Program: MAPFRE Sponsorship Extension
South Coast Rail: Notice of Project Change posted on Mar 22
The Baker-Polito Administration’s Department of Transportation (MassDOT) has filed a Notice of Project Change (NPC) for the South Coast Rail (SCR) Project with the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) Office on March 15, 2017. The Notice advances South Coast Rail as a phased project that …Continue Reading South Coast Rail: Notice of Project Change