State highway guy to become interim state public-transit guy

The Herald reports that Highway chief Frank DePaola will take over from Beverly Scott at the embattled MBTA until a permanent general manager is named. Scott said she would resign in April, but DePaola's appointment starts next week.

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Finally! Time for some action!

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Frank was previously a Senior Project Manager for Harvard's Allston development work. So, that's how you *know* things are going to move move move at the MBTA now!

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That Guy!

You mean the guy who supervises the crews that plowed in the safety barriers just north of the Zakim at the Route 1 turn? You know, the one where the guy from Lowell created the new off ramp to I-93 South by means of going over the barrier and dropping 20 feet below? I mean it had only been 8 days since the last major snow on a bridge which carries over 210,000 cars a day. Who would notice something out of whack with so little traffic?

Excellent. Don't be surprised if the you see a Blue Line train on Comm. Ave. next week or the 92 bus in Roslindale.

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Yup, same guy who couldn't be

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Yup, same guy who couldn't be bothered to clear the sidewalks on the BU or Harvard Bridges for weeks, or the Comm Ave overpass over the Mass Pike, or McGrath Highway, or lots of other bridges and overpasses with MassDOT jurisdiction.

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MassDOT is totally incompetent.

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+ Summer St bridge over A St, Cambridge St Bridge in Allston (the one closer to Cambridge headed towards River St., next to the off ramps)

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So...

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It's his fault a drunk driver drove off the 93N ramp??

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reading comprehension

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No, it's the fault of the crew that did such a bad job plowing that safety barrier that was supposed to STOP a car, instead launched it.

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It's his fault the driver

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It's his fault the driver endangered drivers on the bottom deck instead of being stopped at the barrier.

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victim blaming???

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The dude drove home shitfaced and drove off a fucking highway.

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Fundamental implementation flaw

After the pictured truck accident, I remember my father (who worked building interstates for decades) saying that they probably cheaped out on the railings.

They should have put in much taller railings, but cut corners and put in the 3' ones that are not really supposed to be used on elevated structures. Apparently, they fudged some requirements that overlap a bit in order to get away with it. What should have been specified and installed was beefier, and about 5' tall.

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Blaming this guy

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For a plow drivers mistake and a drunk guy crashing is absolutely rational. Surprised you didn't blame him directly for the snow!

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Excellent. Don't be surprised

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Excellent. Don't be surprised if the you see a Blue Line train on Comm. Ave. next week or the 92 bus in Roslindale.

Convert the B line to heavy rail in a week?

I like the cut of this guy's jib and want to subscribe to his newsletter.

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Giving Credit

If this was the person who was directly responsible for the rapid replacement of the I-93 bridges in Medford I'll give him credit and feel good about his placement. That was a major project which happened rapidity and smoothy.

That should be a lesson in how to handle big projects -- do most construction off-site, fully plan everything, and have lots of people working quickly in a coordinated fashion so that disruptions are minor.

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Who do you think designs,

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Who do you think designs, owns, and maintains the Interstates, once the Feds partially fund them?

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There was little to none

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There was little to none federal funding on this project

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Um - Fast 14 was a Federally funded project

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From the MassDOT Fast 14 web page:

Funding

The project was developed by the Patrick-Murray Administration's Accelerated Bridge Program to result in the fewest construction-related impacts on traffic, businesses, residents and tourism. This $98.1 million project received a $1 million grant from the Federal Highway Administration's Highways for Life program. Over eighty percent of the project cost will be paid for with federal funds. The remaining twenty percent of the project cost (minus the grant money) will be paid for with Accelerated Bridge Program funds.

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From the FHWA

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Eisenhower Interstate Highway System page:

Who built the Interstate System?

The Interstate System was built under the principles of the Federal-aid highway program, which was established in 1916. The Federal Government made Interstate Construction funds available to the State highway/transportation agencies, which built the Interstates.

Who owns it?

The States own and operate the Interstate highways.

The one exception is the Woodrow Wilson Memorial Bridge (I-95/495) over the Potomac River in the Washington area. The U.S. Bureau of Public Roads built the bridge under special legislation approved by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in August 1954. Although the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia operate the bridge, it is owned by the Federal Highway Administration. When the first span of the replacement bridge, now under construction, is opened, the old bridge will be removed. The States will own the new Woodrow Wilson Memorial Bridge.

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Contrast that with a project

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Contrast that with a project like the Fitchburg Commuter Rail bridge replacements in Concord.

I-93 Fast 14: Replace one bridge deck each weekend. The road is kept open at all times, with two lanes in each direction.

Concord rail bridges: Reduce the railroad to a single track for two years. This requires cutting the reverse-peak train schedule to run every 2 hours, and means any late train causes cascading delays in both directions. And cut *all* weekend service from March to November for two years. It's the worst of both worlds -- major shutdowns for construction, but the project still takes years to complete.

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Signs point to...

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...who knows? Mass Highway does some things quite well and other things very poorly. I think they have a good sense of the need to have actual human beings inspecting the infrastructure (I see this mostly with bridges). Their website is terrible, and getting information about the progress of construction projects is a complete nightmare. And I don't know if this guy knows the first thing about public transit issues.

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He worked for many years at

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He worked for many years at MBTA Design and Construction before going to Highway.

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I don't think there will be 2 GMs.

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The MassDOT release sure makes it sound like Dr. Scott is leaving sooner than 4/30. Even if she doesn't, DePaola has been appointed (indirectly) by this Governor, so I don't think that anyone should have any trouble figuring out who is really in charge.

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I think its more

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Of an attempt to transition smoothly. In most large org's it professional courtesy to give notice large enough to allow for a proper transition, and its also good practice to hire someone prior to the other person departing.

Its also in both parties best interest. Scott doesn't look like she left it in shambles, and the new guy doesn't fumble for the first 60 days trying to determine where she left off.

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Frank DePaola is apparently well-qualified for this tough job.

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There are several people who I know and respect (and who have worked on transport issues for a long time at many different levels and in different geographic areas) who were very disappointed that Frank was passed over for Secretary of DOT in favor of Ms. Pollack. They were disappointed because they think he is a remarkably capable guy who marries the technical, managerial, and realpolitik skills necessary to actually get things done in a giant transportation bureaucracy.

All of these people also regularly ride the T, and they are delighted with his appointment to be GM of the T.

From my own perspective, it is an absolutely thankless job, so I think that anyone who is even marginally capable who is willing to take it deserves some credit. Let's give the man a chance and hope for the best. As my father says, "it can almost always be worse", but he is not acquainted with the MBTA (he is not local).

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Give anyone a chance

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At this point, I give anyone a chance. My post was primarily tongue-in-cheek. For example, I'm aware it's not his decision as Senior PM as to how fast Harvard invests in Allston.

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Thankless? He'll get at

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Thankless? He'll get at least 225,000 thank-yous a year, and the thank-yous will keep coming after he leaves.

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I know that salary sounds

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I know that salary sounds generous to the average middle class worker, but it's definitely on the low end of what someone could get managing an institution the size of the MBTA, and most of those jobs don't involve regular public floggings.

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I've known Frank personally for years.

He's the father of a good friend I grew up with. In all the times I've been around him, which includes during his daughter's wedding (y'know, a day that can be pretty stressful), he's been exceptionally pleasant and capable. Frank's a good guy, and I have really high hopes for what he'll be able to do, even as only an "acting" GM.

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He was "exceptionally

He was "exceptionally pleasant and capable" on his daughter's wedding day?

Well now I'm excited about this new hire!

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