Moving Massachusetts Forward
Summer 2009

On Vacation? Here's What You Might Have Missed

High Speed Rail
High Speed Rail The Patrick Administration took steps to dramatically improve passenger rail in applying for Federal Stimulus Funds Story
511 Traffic Cameras
511 Traffic Cameras New website featuring 70 live traffic cameras released in time for Labor Day weekend travelling.
Transportation Reform
Jeffrey Mullan What is transportation reform? Read Jeff Mullan's blog post on reform.
Charlie Card Online
Charlie Card MBTA customers now have access to on-line purchases of fare value for their CharlieCards Story

The Road to Reform

This summer, Governor Patrick signed a landmark transportation reform bill to help secure the Commonwealth's economic future by radically simplifying our transportation bureaucracy and delivering real cost savings by curbing out-of-scale pension and benefits systems.

Under the Governor's leadership, we have already reinvested in our broken roads and bridges in every corner of the Commonwealth. Our transportation agencies and authorities have generated tens of millions of dollars in cost savings and efficiencies, while working on a long-term reform plan to streamline the way we deliver services to transportation users.

Now, this new transportation law will finally start to put decades of neglect and inaction to an end. We are building a unified transportation organization that can support economic growth by fixing broken roads and bridges, investing in regional equity and strengthening public transit.

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) will oversee four divisions: Highway, Mass Transit, Aeronautics and RMV. MassDOT’s priorities will be customer service and safety. Our goal is to build a culture of innovation and creativity built on a foundation of respect for our employees and the people of Massachusetts.

MassDOT will strive to make investments and decisions that strengthen communities, spark economic growth and support public health and the environment. And we will always work to make transportation information easier to find and more accessible for all users.

This landmark reform effort is a challenge, but it is an enormous opportunity to dramatically change the way we deliver transportation services to all transportation users – from drivers and transit riders, to bicyclists and pedestrians.

Our weekly newsletter will inform you of our on-going accomplishments and successes on the road to reform and shed light onto the many challenges our transportation agencies are working through each day to better serve the public.

Key Milestones in Transportation Reform:

  • Feb. 2009 - Governor Patrick announces Transportation and Economic Security Plan.
  • June 2009 - Highway Integration team formed. Legislature passes transportation reform legislation. Governor Patrick signs landmark reform bill into law.
  • July - Nov. 2009 - Office of Transition Management formed. Integration and management task forces preparing for transition to MassDOT.
  • Nov. 2009 - MassDOT launched.
  • January 2010 - Tobin Bridge integrated into MassDOT

Integrating Our Highways

Integrating our highways

Working groups across existing agencies are being formed. A Highway Integration Team has organized employee groups in engineering, operations, and finance. I am pleased to report that we are already reaping the fruits of this labor.

For example, MassHighway and the Turnpike have developed the first ever statewide Roadwork Notification Form, a standardized way to alert the public and media of upcoming construction and the impacts that our projects will have on traffic. The form will help the media to deliver these reports to the public, and will allow us to post the events on our website for the first time. Tom Loughlin, Dave Belanger, Lorenzo Parra, Michelle Maffeo, Holly Sutherland, Rick Nordeen, and others have contributed to this collaborative, user-oriented effort. If you haven't seen it already, look for a consolidated form at the districts and depots in the next few weeks.

At the Tobin Bridge, which becomes part of MassDOT on January 1, 2010, Tobin and Turnpike electricians are working together on a plan to link the bridge camera system to the Operations Control Center.

Faces of Reform: MassHighway Saves De-icing Dollars

MassHighway De-icing

MassHighway is always looking for new ways to maintain safe roadways while saving dollars. The latest example: crushing and grinding road de-icing mix that otherwise would have been discarded. The de-icing mix of salt and and calcium chloride hardens into unusable large chunks if not used quickly.

MassHighway has purchased two portable screening/crushing units that will grind and reclaim the hardened mix for use on roads this next winter season. The units cost $55,000 each but will save up to $255,000 in materials in the first year alone.

This equipment will be a safe, environmentally friendly and economical answer to a long standing problem and its use will be expanded to include MassPike and DCR roadways that become part of the new MassDOT.

MassDOT Quick Fact

The new MassDOT will be responsible for:
  • 9,503 lane miles of roadway
  • 5098 bridges, including the Tobin and Zakim Bridges
  • 4.7 million drivers licenses and 5.9 million vehicle registrations