U.S. Transportation Secretary Slater Approves Recommendations on Central Artery Oversight
Topics: Rodney E. Slater
U.S. Department of Transportation
February 17, 2000
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, February 17, 2000
Contact: Bill Adams
U.S. Transportation Secretary Rodney E. Slater today announced he has accepted and approved an action plan provided by Federal Highway Administrator Kenneth R. Wykle to enhance federal oversight of the Central Artery/Tunnel (CA/T) project in Boston.
"America has the safest and most efficient highway system in the world, and the new Central Artery will be a vital and important addition to our highway network," Secretary Slater said. "At the same time, we have been disturbed to learn of cost overruns in connection with the project. We want to ensure that taxpayer dollars are being expended in the best and most efficient way so that the many benefits of this huge and complex undertaking will be available as soon as possible to millions of transportation users."
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) issued a report on Feb. 14 that said cost estimates would rise significantly. The state had announced that estimates had risen from $10.8 billion to $12.2 billion, a $1.4 billion increase.
The Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), an agency of U.S. Department of Transportation, recommended a six-part action plan to address issues raised in the OIG report and specified additional actions to be taken. The Secretary endorses this FHWA action plan which is as follows:
1. Accept and implement all the OIG recommendations and meet all due dates proposed in the OIG report;
2. Withhold further authorization of advance construction for the CA/T project until the FHWA has received, evaluated and approved a new finance plan from the state that reflects the higher cost and revenue sources for completing the project;
3. Evaluate whether the FHWA should freeze all federal-aid obligation authority until the agency determines the soundness of the new finance plan;
4. Establish a task force to conduct a complete review of FHWA oversight processes;
5. Review the FHWA organizational structure to determine if changes in leadership and reporting relationships are needed; and
6. Use its project approval authority to ensure that Massachusetts meets its agreed-upon split of federal-aid funds (71 percent for the CA/T and 29 percent for other projects) to ensure a balanced statewide transportation plan through 2002 and a 50/50 split thereafter.
The CA/T project will replace the 1950s-era elevated Central Artery Viaduct (I-93) with an eight-lane tunnel. The project also includes a tunnel, which opened for partial use in 1995, from I-93 to Boston’s Logan International Airport.
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