Big Dig Update

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Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney has signed emergency legislation giving him control over the inspection of the problems with the Big Dig and the ultimate reopening of the closed sections. The report uses the words "seized control" which is a ridiculous statement since it is the legislature that ultimately gave him the authority.

BOSTON – Gov. Mitt Romney seized control Friday of inspections in the Big Dig highway system where a woman was killed by falling concrete, saying an independent assessment was necessary to restore public trust.

Inspectors had already pinpointed at least 242 points where bolts were separating from tunnel ceilings, and their review was continuing.

"When it comes to an issue of inspecting the tunnel system, to have the person who's been responsible for it for the last several years say, 'I'm going to inspect it' and tell us, 'It's now safe,' that's not enough," Romney said.

The Republican governor signed emergency legislation Friday morning that gives him ultimate say on when the tunnels reopens, taking that power away from the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority. State lawmakers approved the bill within hours of Romney's request.

Romney was to meet Friday with representatives from the Massachusetts Highway Department, the Federal Highway Administration and the Turnpike Authority for a briefing on the status of the inspection, spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom said.

The eastbound section of the Interstate 90 connector tunnel under South Boston, part of the main route to Logan Airport, has been closed since late Monday when 12 tons of concrete ceiling panels fell, crushing a car carrying Milena Del Valle, 38, and her husband, Angel Del Valle, 46. He escaped with minor injuries.

Maybe someone from Massachusetts can tell me if my guess here is incorrect. In New York State, once the state creates what is called an "authority" that entity, for all intents and purposes, becomes virtually autonomous with very little control exercised by either the legislature or the governor. If it's the same in Massachusetts, that may well be a contributing factor to the mess the project has become.

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