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Federal Highway Administrator Mary Peters
Remarks as prepared for delivery
Ribbon cutting for I-93 Northbound tunnel & bridge
March 27, 2003, Boston, Massachusetts

It's nice to see all of you again! I noticed a small mention of the project in the March issue of Boston Magazine. What's up: driving through the Big Dig. What's down: complaining about the Big Dig.

We've had a number of happy occasions to celebrate milestones on the way to completion of the Central Artery/Tunnel Project . . . the dedication of the Leonard Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge last October . . . the opening of the MassPike connection to the Ted Williams tunnel in January. On behalf of President Bush and Secretary of Transportation Mineta, I am proud to be part of this opening ceremony. The Bush Administration understands that good transportation is essential to America's security, economic prosperity, and quality of life. One of our top priorities at the Department of Transportation and at Federal Highways is relieving congestion. Sometimes that requires construction . . . and not just highway construction.

The project takes an intermodal approach to Boston's transportation congestion. There are improvements to all modes and the connections between them: subway, bus, commuter rail, Amtrak, vehicle, and pedestrian . . . as well as the new Silver Line. Turnpike drivers have direct access to Logan Airport. The "Big Dig" will connect neighborhoods, create parks, boost mobility, and it is spurring economic growth for Boston and the state.

Through the years, FHWA and our Massachusetts Division office have been with the state every step of the way, from planning, through environmental studies and the twists and turns of construction. We supplied a vast amount of technical and logistical support. I want to recognize the FHWA Massachusetts division staff, past and present, which devoted a large part of their careers to every aspect of the Big Dig.

American ingenuity and the work ethic that persevered through the mega-difficulties of tunneling under Boston is the same ingenuity and work ethic shown by American troops fighting to bring liberty to the land and people of Iraq. Our soldiers are succeeding because of excellent training and teamwork. We succeeded here in Massachusetts because of a strong partnership among federal, state, and local government, business, and private citizens. We have much to be thankful for -- in Boston and around the world. We are demonstrating -- we will continue to demonstrate -- that the incredibly difficult can be done. So, it's time to celebrate and to give thanks. Congratulations to all.

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