This case study provides historical context and fresh perspectives for those seeking to understand the ways in which independent authorities operate in Massachusetts. More specifically, it examines the controversial performances of two separate authorities that deal with transportation problems. One involves a failure to detect terrorists breaching security at Logan Airport; the other entails a bitter dispute that arose over the delay in raising tolls on the turnpike to pay for the Big Dig project. With both in mind, this study describes the countervailing pressures that converge on the executive branch of state government as it confronts the prospect of holding these two authorities accountable. Highlighting these events and personalities, we gain a better understanding of the central paradox policymakers face in trying to satisfy the contradictory demands of autonomy and accountability. The case study concludes with a critical appraisal of these authorities and their propensity for self-perpetuation.



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