Hurry: Free Tobin Bridge souvenirs in Chelsea

Rotting Tobin

Mary J. shows one of the Tobin souvenirs that are now yours for the asking underneath the bridge in Chelsea - although she's not all that entranced, based on her tweet to MassDOT:

A piece of the rotting Tobin bridge on Beacon St. in Chelsea - fix it already.

MassDOT contractors are in the middle of a two-year rehab of the bridge. Last month, you may recall, the work had to be stopped when testing showed problems with the pipe network used for firefighting.

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Tobin

We shouldn't have a bridge in this state that has to get to the condition of crumbling before a 2 yr rehab project starts.

Because the money never goes

Because the money never goes to essential employees or services, but instead some no-show hack in a plush office or an obscure pet program, neither of which anyone outside of the legislature has ever heard of.

Very few politicians are accountable to constituents in this state, think of all the guys that have effectively run unopposed for decades, and the poor government we sometimes get reflects that. The crooks on the hill know there are few if any repercussions for screwing the public and conduct themselves accordingly. The almost unanimous standing ovation for Sal should have been a hint that a good lot of the statehouse deserves to be fired at the ballot box.

genius move by Massport:

move responsibility for maintenance from a solvent cash cow to an effectively bankrupt agency like DOT. Now instead of the neighborhood pointing at Massport, we have THREE groups pointing at each other in a circular firing squad. Bravo, Massport, well played!

genius move by Massport:

move responsibility for maintenance from a solvent cash cow to an effectively bankrupt agency like DOT. Now instead of the neighborhood pointing at Massport, we have THREE groups pointing at each other in a circular firing squad. Bravo, Massport, well played!

The "genius" was not Massport's

While I'm sure Massport would like to take the credit for being so shrewd, that's not how it went down.

It was the Legislature, that directed Massport to transfer the Tobin to MassDOT. Massport badly wanted to keep the bridge because it provided tens of millions of dollars in unrestricted revenue each year (unrestricted in the sense that there was no need to worry about diversion of airport revenue, which is prohibited under federal law). Not only that, Massport got screwed in the deal, as it was forced to essentially give away the bridge, for which it had paid back the Commonwealth (the bridge was initially transferred from the Commonwealth to Massport so that Massport would have a revenue stream, but as the airport grew, Massport paid the Commonwealth back for the bridge - almost certainly an amount that exceeded its actual value if properly calculated).

As the initial post points out, however, the transfer of the bridge to MassDOT has been an unmitigated debacle - especially when you consider the fact that almost all of the people at Massport who knew every nook of that bridge took one look at what it would mean for them to work for MassDOT, and promptly retired (from Massport - which has a fully-funded pension plan).

It's tough to have good infrastructure when we have a Legislature that is so clueless.