Transportation Officials Say Big Dig Debt Over $23 Billion
At a Beacon Hill oversight hearing today [Tuesday], Massachusetts transportation officials said the Big Dig debt is starving other road and bridge projects statewide.
At the hearing, state transportation officials said the total cost of the Big Dig, including interest on borrowing, has grown to more than 23 billion. It is the costliest highway project in the nation’s history.
Dana Levenson, the chief financial officer for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation says Big Dig is preventing the Commonwealth from doing work on other transportation projects statewide.
“The Magnitude of the debt and the attendant debt service required by the Commonwealth, MassDot and the MBTA certainly keeps us from tackling not only desirable but necessary capital projects for the good of the commonwealth, its taxpayers and transportation users.”
This year, the department of transportation will pay $129 million dollars in debt service alone on the Big Dig. The state will pay somewhere north of $300 million. And the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority will pay $125 million. And the interest payments are going up.
State Transportation Secretary Rich Davey says the current administration didn’t create the problem but they still have to deal with it.
“This project, the Big Dig, which started long before any of us in the administration were here. - I told the assistant minority leader that I think I was in grammar school when it started, he laughed. We didn’t build it but its ours to manage.”
Also in order to get approval for the Big Dig, the state had to agree to build several large transit projects, including the extensions of several commuter rail lines. The Green Line extension is expected to cost 1.3 billion dollars adding to the state's big dig financial obligations.