PRESS RELEASE

Department of Transportation's Office of the Inspector General Agrees to Oversee Full Review of the Big Dig

July 18, 2006

Today, the Department of Transportation's Office of the Inspector General (DOT IG) has agreed to oversee a full review of the entire Central Artery/Tunnel Project (CA/T). Congressman Mike Capuano, a member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, requested that the DOT IG take on this role, along with the Massachusetts Congressional delegation. A statement from Congressman Capuano appears below. The text of the letter follows:

"In light of the recent tragic accident that took the life of Milena Del Valle, I have renewed my call for an independent safety review of the entire Central Artery/Tunnel project. Since last week, I have had numerous conversations with both the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and with the Department of Transportation's Office of the Inspector General (DOT IG) regarding the urgency of commencing this comprehensive safety review. The NTSB has agreed to investigate the recent tragic accident and has pledged their considerable technical expertise to the DOT IG for the purposes of a larger, more comprehensive review."

"Today, the DOT IG agreed to oversee a full review of the CA/T. This review will include an assessment of the infrastructure, mechanical and electrical, and integrated operational systems. In addition, the DOT IG will ensure that data collected by other parties during the review is analyzed completely, results are fairly and fully disclosed, and recommendations implemented. Lastly, the DOT IG will assess whether there was oversight of the CA/T at all stages."

"We appreciate the willingness of the DOT IG to take on the critical task of ultimately determining that the CA/T is structurally sound. Massachusetts taxpayers deserve this answer, which is long overdue."

Text of letter:

July 18, 2006

Todd J. Zinser
Acting Inspector General
U.S. Department of Transportation
400 7th St. S.W., Room 9210
Washington, D.C. 20590

Dear Inspector General Zinser,

As you know, we are deeply concerned about the July 10, 2006 tragedy that occurred as a result of falling concrete in a section of the Central Artery/Tunnel Project (CA/T) in Boston. Clearly, this raises critical safety concerns for the entire CA/T. We are pleased that the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) responded to our delegation request and has begun to investigate the accident. We hope that their independent investigation will provide needed information for a safety review of the entire CA/T project.

A comprehensive independent investigation of the CA/T is necessary in order to assure the citizens of the Commonwealth that the CA/T is safe. After discussions with your office, we are assured that the Inspector General's office will provide independent oversight of a full review of the CA/T. We appreciate your commitment and understand that this review will include an assessment of the infrastructure, mechanical and electrical, and integrated operational systems.

The Inspector General can provide an important public service by ensuring that the data collected by other parties during the review is analyzed completely, results are fairly and fully disclosed, and recommendations are implemented. In addition, we request that the Inspector General assess whether there was oversight of the CA/T at all stages. We appreciate your willingness to work with all parties to ensure that an investigation of the entire CA/T is thorough and independent.

Thank you in advance for the time and effort the Inspector General's office will be devoting to this endeavor.

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Contact: Alison M. Mills (617) 621-6208