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Taxing your ass for a leaky hole in the ground

For some time, I've been meaning to write about "The Big Dig" -- the Boston Central Artery project. The problem is, summarizing it is next to impossible. You have to cite the $3 billion initial pricetag that's almost reached $15 billion, the steady stream of politicians and their friends and family who have gotten cushy jobs in the process, the devastation to Boston as its heart is being torn up, and all the screwups in the building process that now has a former consultant (and one of the leading tunnnel engineers in the world) saying "he can no longer guarantee its safety."

But now I don't have to. Red, of Scared Monkeys, has done my legwork for me.

It's hardly a comprehensive history of The Big Dig, but it's a good start. A truly complete description of all the scandals, screwups, and other general misdeeds would take a book. A Tom Clancy or J. K. Rowling - sized book.

Nice work, Red.

J.


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Comments (12)

Possible edit: Did you mea... (Below threshold)
ClusterChuck:

Possible edit: Did you mean J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series of books?

(sigh)Typo corrected... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

(sigh)
Typo corrected. Thanks, Chuck.

J.

Jay, check your e-mail.... (Below threshold)

Jay, check your e-mail.

Bruce, same to you. <... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

Bruce, same to you.

J.

Something is happeni... (Below threshold) Great post; it's a symptom ... (Below threshold)

Great post; it's a symptom of the runaway Transport. Bill and is only getting much, much worse. Having read the transport bill and its schedules, I know a huge part of the bill is a waste of time and money. I've posted on it a couple times here. The bill is getting worse and worse - and there's no way to stop it.

FYI:

http://bizblogger.blogspot.com/2005/03/whats-wrong-with-transportation-bill.html

http://bizblogger.blogspot.com/2005/03/pork-beans-look-at-transportation-bill.html

http://bizblogger.blogspot.com/2005/03/congressmans-take-on-pork-barrel.html

No, not Tom Clancy! He wou... (Below threshold)
KBiel:

No, not Tom Clancy! He would describe the scandals in a single paragraph while taking several pages to describe just a single spark plug, on the engine of a single tractor being used somewhere in the vicinity of the dig.

They should rename the Bost... (Below threshold)
Not Tony:

They should rename the Boston Central Artery project "Chinese Democracy"; the parallels to the long-delayed Guns N Roses album are amazing.

hah Kbiel, you just brought... (Below threshold)

hah Kbiel, you just brought to mind The Sum of All Fears, written by Tom Clancy (later turned into a movie).

In the book, one entire chapter is devoted to the inner workings of the nuclear warhead as it detonates.

I almost always agree with ... (Below threshold)
Ninya:

I almost always agree with you but on the Big Dig I have to differ. I know there have been lots of problems: cost, schedule, new technology, corruption. But those happen with any great project.

Having lived in Boston forever, I loved it when they pulled down the Central Artery. It was ugly, rotting, rusty, and dangerous. It's such a treat to walk to the North End now without having to walk under that thing. I can get to the airport off the Pike now, instead of being stuck in the tunnel. I can zip off the Leverett Connector, right onto Storrow Drive, instead of sitting in fumes on the Lower Deck for thirty minutes.

Is it perfect? No. Is it good? I 'd say it's better than good, with all it's problems. Is it worth the money? I think so.

When I was growing up, the old John Hancock Building was the tallest building in the city and Lochovers was the best restaurant. You can't imagine how dreary it was. Boston has come a long way since then and the teardown of the strangling Central Artery is going to give another boost to Boston's reputation as a beautiful place to live and visit.

oops. Lochobers not Lochove... (Below threshold)
Ninya:

oops. Lochobers not Lochovers.

I just want to bring someth... (Below threshold)

I just want to bring something up.

I live in Atlanta, and we have two "major" highways sort of arbitrarily created by city planners. The first is I-75/85 -- the Downtown Connector -- which runs right through the heart of downtown. Now, because we have 24-hour enforced HOV lanes, it's not so bad to drive on when you're taking a long trip (there's usually someone in the car with you), it's prone to huge traffic delays, accidents that block four or more (out of eight to ten) lanes of through traffic, and no one is ever quite sure what exit they're getting off on. Oh, sure, the sign SAYS Freedom Pkwy, but are you really getting off there? Or are you going to branch off the ramp and get on Ellis St or Butler St?

Think about Dallas Fort Worth -- they have 35E and 35W, right? Well, this is the opposite.

Our other nightmare is down by the airport. We have a beltway -- 285 -- and the southern portion of I-85. They meet southeast of the airport, and then run parallel to each other for about three miles before 285 turns north and 85 turns south. I've driven through that morass twice, and twice was plenty. I'd rather take 285 to Camp Creek Pkwy and drive an extra five minutes along a road with about 10 traffic lights than try to figure out where the hell I'm going. There's so many off-ramps down there that even looking at a map is an exercise in futility.

I understand if Boston needs this "Central Artery", but projects like this merely sound grandiose. They actually end up being nightmares. As the people of Boston have found out. Unfortunately, they also found out that once it's started, it really can't be stopped.




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