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03-15-2005

Page history last edited by PBworks 13 years, 8 months ago

March 15, 2005

 

STATEMENT OF GOVERNOR MITT ROMNEY ON TURNPIKE AUTHORITY

 

Dealing with the Turnpike Authority over the past two years has been an incredibly frustrating experience. I believe the Big Dig has been mismanaged to the detriment of the public.

 

I have asked for the Big Dig to be put under my authority and control, and I have called for a change of leadership at the Turnpike Authority. Unfortunately, I have been the lone voice on Beacon Hill calling for this change.

 

It is absolutely startling to me that the Turnpike Authority’s own engineering consultant cannot vouch for the safety of the Central Artery tunnel because he has been denied access to critical records and documents that would allow him to form an opinion.

 

With the Big Dig, there has been a pattern of cover-up and stonewalling that has left the public with little confidence that the project is being managed well or that the road and tunnel system are safe for travel.

 

Jack Lemley says he wasn’t given access to critical information to assess the tunnel’s safety. Judge Ginsburg says he was denied access to information so that he could pursue cost recovery. Christy Mihos as a member of the Board of the Turnpike Authority had to go to court to get information from the own authority of which he served as a board member.

 

This is intolerable. The culture of obstruction and cover-up starts at the very top.

 

Today, I am taking the first step to remove Matt Amorello as Chairman of the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority.

 

Today, I will ask the Supreme Judicial Court for an advisory opinion to confirm my power to remove the Chairman. As soon as the court responds in the affirmative, I will install new leadership.

 

I need this validation from the Supreme Judicial Court in order to avoid a protracted legal battle that would only deepen public cynicism and mistrust and delay action.

 

The second action I am taking today is this. I am directing my state Highway Department to oversee an independent evaluation of the tunnel’s safety and to make sure that’s carried out as soon as possible.

 

In order for that to happen, there will need to be full access to all relevant documents, the same documents the Turnpike Authority has been reluctant to give to its own consultant. Therefore, I am asking Attorney General Reilly to seize those documents today so they are available for independent inspection and evaluation.

 

It is imperative that the Attorney General move quickly given the matter is of such significance to our public safety.

 

As Governor, I have a responsibility to all the people when it comes to public safety.

 

My job now is to assure that the tunnels are safe, and to take whatever steps are necessary to put in place responsible management at the Turnpike Authority.

 

March 15, 2005

GOVERNOR ROMNEY ANNOUNCES BOND RATING UPGRADE FOR COMMONWEALTH’S DEBT

Represents first upgrade of general obligation bonds since 2000

 

Governor Mitt Romney today announced that Standard & Poor’s has raised the state’s credit rating one notch, from “AA-“ to “AA”. This is the state’s first ratings upgrade since January 2000, when Moody’s Investors Service raised the state’s credit rating from “Aa3” to “Aa2”.

 

“Two years ago, the state budget was out of balance and the economy was in a deep recession. Working together, the Executive Branch and Legislature took decisive action to control costs and manage the budget without raising taxes. Today, our economy is strong and producing jobs and the budget outlook is positive,” said Governor Romney.

 

“This is certainly welcome news,” said State Treasurer Timothy P. Cahill, whose office oversees debt management in the Commonwealth. “Massachusetts has weathered the recent economic downturn better that most other states. We used our reserve funds wisely and didn’t resort to the sort of fiscal gimmicks that we have seen in many other states. We have all made tough choices on revenue and spending that have served the citizens of the Commonwealth well.”

 

“This credit upgrade is a validation of the steps we’ve taken to control spending, rebuild our reserves and institute cost-saving reforms throughout state government,” said Administration and Finance Secretary Eric Kriss.

 

Credit ratings, which are assigned by the three independent agencies that review the Commonwealth’s debt offerings, help determine the interest rates that the state pays when it issues its bonds. The Commonwealth is rated by three rating agencies: Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s Investors Service and Fitch Ratings. The Commonwealth’s next bond issue will occur later this week, when the state will offer and price $500 million of general obligation bonds.

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