MassDOT’s Cost Savings Dead End

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Dead End street sign

In a joint press release praising the Transportation Reform bill of 2009, House Speaker DeLeo and Senate President Murray wrote, “the final bill eliminates the Turnpike Authority, streamlines communications, and creates a more efficient and cost-effective system under a unifying agency called the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT), potentially saving the Commonwealth up to $6.5 billion during the next 20 years.”

Eighteen months later, Governor Patrick down-sized projected savings from $6.5 billion to $2 billion.

In its 2010 report, “Transportation Reform – Year 1 – Transportation Finance Commission Scorecard and Cost Saving Summary.” MassDOT’s management wrote, “as we move into year two, MassDOT will continue to seek more savings, efficiencies and continue to reform the way in which we govern and manage our transportation infrastructure in an effort to secure the public’s trust.”

So what has become of those promised cost-savings efforts?  Did the Governor’s planned reduction in workforce of 300 MassDOT personnel come to fruition?  Pioneer Institute wanted to find out, but, unfortunately, MassDOT’s website contained no cost savings reports beyond Year 1.

Through a records request to MassDOT by Muckrock, a public records request facilitator, Pioneer hoped to analyze subsequent years’ savings scorecards, but hit a dead end.

Apparently, MassDOT threw in the cost-savings towel.  The mega-transportation agency stopped publishing cost savings reports.

With all that ballyhoo over transportation reform, we’ll never really know its effect on our pocketbooks and are left only to guess.