$20 Million Wasted on Rte. 6 Bridge Overruns [OPINION]
Insanely wasting taxpayer money through ineptness or just a general lack of giving a crap is corruption and should be punished as such.
At a time when state government officials are insisting that you need to pay more to repair and upgrade the Commonwealth's infrastructure and transit system through new tolls and higher taxes, WBZ-TV 4 is reporting about massive cost overruns in the construction of the Veterans Memorial Bridge that connects Fall River to Somerset.
WBZ cites a recent audit conducted by Inspector General Glenn Cunha that shows the $290 million bridge project, completed in 2011, includes at least $20 million in wasted taxpayer money. Cunha tells BZ: “Definitely a case of waste…a real bad case of lack of contract management.”
The station reports that "The audit found the state paid a firm $7 million to design the bridge, but later shelled out another $9.2 million to fix problems with the design – even though the contract with that firm expressly released the state from any obligation to pay for those costly errors."
According to the report: "Another $7.4 million was paid to a construction contractor to fix mistakes made by that design firm, but the state never sought any reimbursement from them."
The audit finds that the Department of Transportation wasted nearly $1 million to paint steel beams that according to the construction contract were supposed to remain unpainted. Another half million was spent on three natural gas generators that were never used and sat in storage.
It's worth noting that all of this wasteful spending was occurring on the watch of then-Governor Deval Patrick, the Democrat who served from 2007 to 2015. Just another stain on the jacket of Mr. Attitude himself.
Wasting the taxpayer's money is appalling. To do so with full knowledge of what you are doing is corruption. Attorney General Maura Healy should sink her teeth into this report and see if we can recover any of our losses. Wait, she's busy suing the president and might not have time for such menial tasks.
Governor Baker and the Massachusetts legislature are proposing new taxes this year. Senate President Karen Spilka wants you to pay new highway tolls and the Democrats are insisting on a graduated gas tax hike to pay for transportation projects.
I say not a penny more until these irresponsible thieves can show us how they've spent the money we have already given them, and take steps to ensure this kind of mismanagement doesn't occur again.
Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.