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Research Report

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The John W. McCormack Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Massachusetts Boston is an institution whose primary mission is public service. Through public policy research, educational programs, policy practice and the dissemination ofknowledge, the Institute seeks to have a constructive impact on policy formulation, problem solving and public discourse concerning urgent civic challenges facing state and local government in the New England region.

In 1996, under Chapter 205 of the 1996 Acts and Resolves, the Massachusetts legislature authorized the Institute to undertake a study *to review and explore possible cost savings within the Central Artery/Third Harbor Tunnel project" and report its findings to the House and Senate Committees on Ways and Means and the Joint Committee on Transportation.

In devising the scope of study, our focus has been on analyzing costs of the project through the prism of good public policy — that is, to identify the interests of the Commonwealth, as the ultimate owner of the project, in its size and scope, current status, and expected outcomes. Our team consisted of experienced public policy analysts recruited from within the ranks ofthe Institute and outside. It included experts on engineering and construction industry practices in the Commonwealth, but with no past or current involvement in the CA/T program.

With this focus and objective, we did not play the role of a financial auditor or an evaluator of the engineering designs. We did not play the role of an in-depth evaluator ofmanagement practices as would an outside management expert. Nor did we attempt to duplicate the legally mandated reviews of the numerous federal and state agencies with continuing responsibly for project oversight. Our role, then, has been that of a neutral broker.

The starting point for this review was the cost estimates contained in the Massachusetts Highway Department Finance Plan for the Central Artery/Tunnel Project, dated September 30, 1996, which estimated the overall cost of the project at $10.4+ billion when completed. $4.9 billion has been spent as of June 30, 1996.



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