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Corruption Chronicles

Costly Negligence In Massachusetts

A culture corruption, severe mismanagement and negligence by state and federal officials is responsible for the ongoing problems with the nation’s biggest and costliest highway project, best known as “Boston’s Boondoggle”.

The $15 billion Massachusetts highway, officially called the Big Dig, has had numerous cost overruns, delays, leaks and falling debris, which this week led to the death of a 38-year-old woman. A 2.5-ton slab of concrete broke lose from a tunnel ceiling and crashed onto a car, instantly killing the woman. The Insurance Journal writes that this tragedy will trigger a wave of litigation that will cost taxpayers millions.

Even before this week’s death, the Big Dig’s problems have been well-documented. Federal charges have already been filed against employees of a concrete supplier for fraudulently concealing poor-quality materials, inspiring politicians to participate in a frantic, finger-pointing campaign. Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney has called for the head of the Turnpike Authority to resign and the state attorney general has launched a criminal investigation.

One editorial called the disastrous highway the Deadly Big Dig and wrote that the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority, which oversees maintenance of the highway system, had plenty of warnings of problems, including contractors who had hidden the use of substandard materials, discovery of more than 150 faulty walls, falling debris that damaged cars and 1,700 leaks.

One Massachusetts blog says this is another example that corruption has human costs and questions whether proper government oversight, complete with thorough inspections every step of the way, would have prevented a death. Another notes that the Big Dig is a sledge-hammer to our collective credibility and the Webinar Blog calls it a horrendous project.


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