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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, Office of the Secretary, Office of Public Affairs, Washington, DC 20590

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, February 25, 2000
Contact: Virginia Miller
Tel.: 202-366-0660
FHWA 12-00

Federal Highway Administrator Announces
Task Force for Central Artery Project Oversight

BOSTON -- Federal Highway Administrator Kenneth R. Wykle today said that a task force will arrive in Boston to begin the review of federal oversight of the Central Artery/Tunnel (CA/T) project.

"The new Central Artery will serve the needs of millions of transportation users and be a vital addition to America's highway network," Wykle said. "This is a massive, complex project, and the appointment of the task force will help ensure that federal taxpayer dollars are being invested in the best and most effective manner so that the project can be completed as quickly and efficiently as possible."

Acting Deputy Federal Highway Administrator Walter Sutton will lead the task force, composed of staff from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the Federal Transit Administration and outside consultants. The team will include engineers, lawyers, accountants and contracting specialists and will be supplemented with additional members with necessary expertise or as needed.

Transportation's Office of the Inspector General (OIG) issued a report on Feb. 14 that said cost estimates for the project would increase significantly. The state had previously announced that estimates had risen from $10.8 billion to $12.2 billion, a $1.4 billion increase.

The appointment of a task force is one step in a six-part action plan developed by the FHWA to address issues raised in the OIG report. U.S. Transportation Secretary Rodney E. Slater accepted and approved the action plan on Feb. 17.

In addition to appointing a task force, the action plan calls for the FHWA to implement all OIG recommendations; withhold further authorization of advance construction for the CA/T project until the FHWA has approved a new finance plan from the state that reflects the higher cost and revenue sources for completing the project; evaluate whether the FHWA should freeze all federal-aid obligation authority until the agency determines the soundness of the new finance plan; review the FHWA organizational structure to determine if changes are needed; and use its project approval authority to ensure that Massachusetts meets its agreed-upon split of federal-aid funds to ensure a balanced statewide transportation plan.

The CA/T project will replace the 1950s-era elevated Central Artery Viaduct (I-93) with an eight-lane tunnel. The project also includes a tunnel, which opened for partial use in 1995, from I-93 to Boston's Logan International Airport.

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