One would have hoped after spending nearly ten times the original projected costs the taxpayers would have gotten their money’s worth with the epic Big Dig project in Boston. Well, those hopes didn’t last long as shortly after the project was completed a woman was killed when a ceiling section came crashing down upon her. Now five years after that fiasco we’ve learned light fixtures are in danger of coming down, and one already has, with a estimated costs to fix the lighting at $200 million. If you use the same math they originally foisted upon the public, expect the tab to run into the billions.
A few days after a 110-pound light fixture crashed from the ceiling of the Tip O’Neill tunnel onto one of the busiest roads in Boston, a highway crew made an alarming discovery: nine other lights in the sprawling Big Dig tunnels were hanging from supports so corroded that they could fail at any time, too.
The Big Dig already had a tragic experience with dangerous falling objects. A tunnel ceiling panel had collapsed in 2006, killing a woman a few hundred yards from where the nine corroded fixtures were discovered on Feb. 16. State engineers had no way of knowing how many more of the 25,000 lights in the Big Dig tunnels had become unstable – and plenty of reason to fear that corrosion was widespread after years of saltwater leaking into the tunnels.
Then the stonewalling and obfuscation began.
But the engineers in charge kept quiet. They filed no written report. They didn’t brief their boss. And when they asked federal regulators for money to fix a corrosion problem that “could’’ lead to falling light fixtures, they didn’t disclose that one had already fallen.
Internal e-mails and Transportation Department reports obtained by the Globe show that last winter’s light fixture collapse presented a more hazardous situation than Secretary Jeffrey B. Mullan disclosed to the public, and one that could add $200 million to the already-gargantuan price of the Big Dig.
While that $200 million figure almost seems like chump change the way the federal government wastes money these days, perhaps some money should go toward an investigation into these engineers. No written report? Nobody told the boss? Is there anyone in charge in this Democrat-controlled bastion? Who knows, maybe someone creative will find a way to blame former Governor Mitt Romney.
Read the rest of the report, and let’s give credit where due to the Globe for pursuing this story.
Naturally, the senior senator from Massachusetts, who served in Vietnam, pre-emptively stuck his foot in his mouth last fall.
Describing China’s investments in transportation and technology, U.S. Sen. John Kerry griped Thursday that “we’ve still got people complaining about the Big Dig.”
“Do I think it was over cost? Yes. Do I think it was well managed? No. But in the end, 20 years from now, people are going to look back at it and they’ll still say it was cheap for what we got, and they’ll try to figure out how they can replicate it,” he told an audience at a Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce breakfast on Thursday.
A Chinese motorway has collapsed just two days after it opened, causing the deaths of two people, after builders were ordered to rush the project so it could be unveiled for the 90th birthday of the Communist party.
The 57-mile-long Xinsan motorway, through the mountains of Yunnan, was supposed to be a perfect example of how the Communist party has rolled out pristine infrastructure to even the most remote areas of China, creating economic prosperity.
The Chinese, just like the left here in this country, are also eagerly embracing high-speed rail.
The 820-mile Beijing-to-Shanghai high-speed railway, open to the public for only eleven days, yesterday (SUN) saw trains stalled for two hours after an electrical failure.
Have they got advisers from Boston working on these Chinese projects?
The Big Dig wound up costing taxpayers about $22 billion dollars. Here’s some disturbing perspective to that: Obama’s stimulus scam cost at least 35 times that.
Come to think of it, maybe Kerry was right. It does seem pretty cheap by today’s standards.