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.
Lexington: Route 2 Bridges Project Update posted on Aug 21
MassDOT next week will begin preparations to replace the Route 2 Bridges over I-95 in Lexington by implementing a traffic shift on Route 2 east and westbound. The work to prepare for the shift requires lane closures from 8:00 PM each night to 5:00 AM …Continue Reading Lexington: Route 2 Bridges Project Update
Governor Patrick Announces Knowledge Corridor Line Purchase posted on Aug 20
Governor Deval Patrick today announced an agreement in principle allowing the Commonwealth to purchase the Knowledge Corridor rail line between East Northfield and Springfield from Pan Am Southern, a joint venture of Pan Am and Norfolk Southern. The 49-mile segment of rail is currently undergoing …Continue Reading Governor Patrick Announces Knowledge Corridor Line Purchase
Morton Street Bridge Opens Ahead of Schedule posted on Aug 19
MassDOT announced the successful opening of the new Morton Street Bridge in Mattapan more than a full day ahead of the already accelerated schedule. The original structurally deficient bridge carrying Morton Street over the MBTA commuter rail tracks closed on Friday, August 8 for final …Continue Reading Morton Street Bridge Opens Ahead of Schedule